Page images
[blocks in formation]

The New

of the

[merged small][ocr errors]

The Fifty-seventh Congress, chosen

Thus, in personnel, and also, presuma

Organization Congress. last year on the date of the Presiden.

bly, in organization, the Fifty-seventh

House. tial election, begins the work of its

Congress will be very much like its first session on Monday, December 2. Like its predecessor. It seems to be agreed that the Hon. predecessor, the Fifty-sixth Congress, it is strongly David B. Henderson, of Iowa, is again to be Republican. Both branches, indeed, of the new chosen by the House as its Speaker, in which Congress have a slightly increased Republican case there will devolve upon him the delicate and majority. In round figures there are about 200 responsible task of appointing the committees. Republicans and 150 Democrats in the House of But this will be an easier undertaking than usual, Representatives, the Populists and Silverites because undoubtedly the committees will in the numbering only 6 or 8. In the Senate there are main stand as they were in the Fifty-sixth Con. several vacant seats, and Delaware, notably, is gress, most of the principal chairmanships being without representation owing to the protracted retained by their former holders. The most im deadlock in the Legislature caused by the per. portant is the Committee on Ways and Means, of sistence of the fight for and against Addicks. A which the chairman, since the death of Mr. Ding. full Senate consists of 90 members, and the Re. ley, of Maine, has been Sereno E. Payne, of New publicans have a working plurality of about 20. York. Of similarly high rank is the Committee An unusually large proportion of the members on Appropriations, at the head of which has been of the last House of Representatives have been Joseph G. Cannon, of Illinois. A committee reëlected. For example, all but one of Indiana's that is likely to have great special importance in 13 members belonged to the last Congress. the work of the new Congress is that dealing There is only one new member in Iowa's delega. with the isthmian canal question, of which tion of 11. In Missouri's 15 seats there is not William P. Hepburn, of Iowa, has been chair. a single change. The delegations from Maine

Of the Committee on Military Affairs, and Connecticut, from Georgia and Louisiana, John A. T. Hull, of Iowa, served as chairman from New Jersey and Minnesota, remain exactly through the period of the Spanish and Philippine as in the Fifty-sixth Congress. Eleven out of wars and the reorganization of the regular army. the 12 Michigan members are reëlected, and in a With 40,000 troops still remaining in the Philipnumber of other States there are only one or two pines, and the varied interests of the remodeled changes. Generally speaking, the very strong army, Mr. Hull's committee will continue to be Republican States of the North and the solid one of very great importance. Democratic States of the South have returned their old representatives. But changes are more

Under ordinary circumstances, the numerous in the States where parties are some.

Vice-President of the United States what evenly divided. Thus, New York's dele.

is the presiding officer of the Senate ; gation of 34 members contains 12 men who did but during the Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth not sit in the last Congress, and there are 9 new Congresses the Senate will be presided over by members from Ohio in a total delegation of 21. one of its own members. It is probable that Illinois has 6 new members in a total of 22, and Senator Frye, of Maine, will serve in this capaPennsylvania 8 or 9 in a delegation of 30. city for the coming four years,--that is to say,



In the


bers of Congress must feel the more sense of responsibility for their own views and votes, since it will be less easy than at some former times to support merely partisan programmes or to follow comfortably in line behind recognized leaders. Thus, on a number of important questions it is going to be found unusually difficult to persuade members of Congress to accept and support a given position as a test of party allegiance. There is a wide difference of opinion, for example, abont steamship subsidies ; and it does not seem likely that the Republicans could be united upon any subsidy scheme that they would accept as embodying party policy. It is quite possible that a similar difficulty may be encountered in respect to the question of making large trade concessions to Cuba, and also as regards the more general questions of reciprocity, tariff-revision, reduction of internal-revenue taxes, and other problems of trade policy and taxation. While there is no reason to look forward to factional divisions among the Republicans on these or on other

Copyright by Bilbrough, Dubuque.



until after a Vice-President is elected in 1904 and inaugurated in 1905. The Senate appoints its own committees, and the presiding officer merely acts as chairman in the strict parliamentary sense. Senator Frye has stood first on the list of members of the Committee on Foreign Re. lations since the death of Senator Davis, of Min. nesota, who was chairman of that committee. Inasmuch as the Senate usually observes the seniority principle, this chairmanship would naturally have devolved upon Mr. Frye if he had desired it. But he prefers to retain his chairmanship of the Committee on Commerce, a position that he justly regards as one of great and ever-growing importance. Next on the list of members of the Foreign Relations Committee is Senator Cullom, of Illinois, and it is expected that he will be made chairman.



questions, there is ample prospect of open, honest, and independent discussion of all such questions whenever they present themselves.

Congress assembles at a time of very Legislative great harmony in the Republican

Prospect. party, and in a general period of good will throughout the country in which patriotism is at full flood and mere party feeling at low ebb. It does not follow, however, that the situation is an inviting one for any particular programme of legislation. There has seldom been so little leadership in either party that Congress and the country have been inclined to recognize as highly authoritative. This need not be a matter for re. gret, for it only means that the individual mem

Much of the most important legislaExecutive lative work of the Fifty-fifth and Influence.

Fifty-sixth Congresses was done under the stress of exceptional conditions brought about by war. The President, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, was, under those circum: stances, entitled to unusual influence. Patriot

ism seemed to call for the upholding of President men in private life qualified to speak for subMcKinley's hands, and the measures that he stantial interests, whether labor, finance, infavored-financial, military, and otherwise—were dustrial capital, protected manufactures, or shiployally adopted by Congress in a spirit that added ping,—and to representatives of the interests of much to the impression of firm purpose and localities, such as particular States or insular united front that this country was making upon possessions. By virtue of this plan of conferring the world at large.

There is no reason to think with leading public men and with representathat Congress will not attach due weight to the tives of particular interests or places, the Presi

dent has come to have a knowledge of the immediate drifts and currents of American public opinion that no other man can be said to possess so completely. Such an understanding could but lend an air of firm grasp to the President's discussion of leading questions in his first message. Naturally, he will be in full harmony with the positions of the Cabinet officers touch. ing their respective departments, but he will not follow the custom of embodying in the message a summary of departmental information.


The Isthmian Canal Commission, of
Canal Report
and New Treaty which Admiral Walker is the chair.

man, appointed three years ago, was expected to have its final report ready for transmission to Congress in December, and to that end was in session at Washington last month. A mil. lion dollars had been appropriated for the use of this commission in the making of surveys and the supply to Congress and the country of more complete information than had ever before been obtained. The preliminary reports of this commission favored the Nicaragua route. Within the past few weeks the officers of the French Pa. nama Canal Company have been conferring with



views and recommendations of President Roosevelt. But after a period of strenuous public activity the time has arrived for careful deliberation and full debate, and the Fifty-seventh Congress is likely to prove itself a rather careful and conservative body.

[ocr errors]

Meanwhile, the President's Message
Roosevelt's will not have occasioned much, if

any, surprise or disquietude. Mr. Roosevelt recognizes to the utmost the dignity and responsibility of Congress as a coördinate branch of the Government, and he will do his full part to maintain that harmony of view and spirit of coöperation and mutual respect between the executive and legislative branches that are always necessary in this country if anything whatever is to be accomplished. To that end the President has taken the principal leaders and chairmen of committees of both houses into his confidence during the preparation of his message, and he has also listened willingly to

John BULL: “ I quit; you dig."
From the North American (Philadelphia).

the canal commissioners at Washington with the

The data of various kinds comprised object of bringing about a purchase of their un

A New Cabinet in the report of the Industrial Com

Office. finished work by the United States. It is proba

mission will be peculiarly pertinent in ble that Congress and the country will continue to view of the proposition to create a new cabinet prefer the Nicaragua route as amended and sup portfolio of commerce and industry. It is under. ported by the Walker Commission. It is expected stood that President Roosevelt will recommend that President Roosevelt will strongly advocate

the creation of such a department. The relation the construction of an isthmian canal with as of the Government to commerce and industry is little delay as possible. He will be prepared to already vast and intricate ; and the history of the transmit to the Senate a new treaty with England early future of the United States is destined more to supersede the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. This

than ever before to be a history of industry and was signed at the State department by Secretary trade. Every great modern government exists Hay and Lord Pauncefote on November 18. The in large part for the sake of safeguarding and Isthmian Canal Commission has embodied a very developing the economic activities of the people. high order of engineering talent, and there is The government of England, especially, is comevery reason to believe that its services have been mercial in its motive. The pending question of rendered with the utmost thoroughness, industry, tariff reciprocity in this country, for example, is and fidelity, as well as with zeal and the spirit of not one that concerns primarily the national expatriotism.

chequer, — that is to say, is not essentially a

question of public finance ; but it is rather a Another very important national com question of trade policy affecting labor and Work of the Industrial mission has completed its work after capital. In like manner the pending question of Commission. sessions lasting three years.

We steainship subsidies is one that does not concern publish elsewhere,

primarily any of the existing executive depart. from the pen of Pro.

ments. The oversight of the country's trade does fessor Lindsay, of

not belong in the nature of the case to the State the University of

Department or the Treasury Department ; but it Pennsylvania, an ar

would afford very important functions for a de. ticle summarizing

partment of commerce. If great corporations its elaborate investi.

and combinations of capital are in the future to gations and reports.

be brought under national supervision, whether The conditions of

with or without a constitutional amendment, such labor, trade, and in

oversight must be exercised through executive dustrial protection

officers; and the interests involved are of such of this country have

magnitude that it would hardly seem feasible to been so exhaustively

deal with them through a bureau or a permanent examined by the In

commission attached either to the Treasury or dustrial Commission

the Interior Department. A hundred considerathat its printed re

tions, in short, point toward the advisability of a (Chairman of the Industrial port fills fourteen


new executive department headed by an officer of large volumes. Dr.

cabinet rank to concern itself with matters of Lindsay, took expert charge for the commission national commerce and industry. It would seem of portions of its work relating to - transporta as if the creation of such a department, and the tion, railway labor, etc. One of the most im appointment of an energetic and able man at the portant subjects considered was that of the so head of it, with assistants possessing scientific called trust movement, this portion of the knowledge and administrative ability, might investigation being especially in charge of Pro. prove to be the necessary point of departure for fessor Jenks, of Cornell University. These mas a gradual reconstruction of American policy resive volumes, like those in which the Isthmian specting the national economic life. Canal Commission has reported its studies and conclusions, are a veritable mine of valuable in

As the time was approaching for Con

Conservatism formation for the guidance of Congress and the the Season's gress to convene, and as leaders in instruction of the country. The report of this

both houses were showing disposiIndustrial Commission will be made at a favor tion to express themselves upon the forthcom. able moment, because the public mind is excep ing session and its work, it became more and tionally open to conviction, and there has not for more manifest that they were of almost one aca long time been so little disposition to act first cord in their determination that Congress should and think afterward.

do nothing rash or radical. Prominent Senato




rial leaders argued that the business of the coun we may venture to assert the belief that there try is in good condition, that the country has are not 25 people out of the 75,000,000 inhabit. borne magnificently the shock that came with ants of the United States who could pass an ex. the assassination of President McKinley, that we amination that would show them sufficiently wise have gone through the excitement and distrac. and well-informed to proceed at once to formulate tion of a foreign war, with its accompaniment of an American policy for developing the merchant military and territorial expansion, and that on marine by means of ship subsidies. every account it would be unwise to enter now upon a line of legislative action that might seri.

There are a great many more men, ously disturb the course of business prosperity. As to Reci- doubtless, who could pass an intelli.

procity. Certainly, if it is to be only at the expense of a

gent examination upon the subject of protracted and passionate agitation that anything tariff reciprocity. But this subject also is one can be accomplished for a modification of the that offers difficulties of a most exasperating na. tariff, or the adoption of a reciprocity policy, ture; and it requires most careful study and ex. there is wisdom in the conservatism of these Sen amination. Reciprocity as Mr. Blaine con. atorial leaders. But there is no good reason why ceived of it a dozen years ago was a part of his henceforth the tariff question should be the foot. large western-hemisphere policy, which had its ball of political parties. It ought to be possible political as well as its commercial bearings. His to introduce considerable modifications in several thought was not of trade reciprocity between the schedules by common consent, so to speak, and United States and Europe, but rather of the eswithout any harmful agitation whatsoever. Our tablishment of direct communication between industries, generally speaking, have reached a the United States and the Latin republics on point of maturity. How best to safeguard and the plan of opening our ports to West Indian promote their further development, while giving sugar and tobacco, and to South American cof. due consideration to the status of American labor, fee, hides, and other leading products, in exis a subject that calls for patient and skillful in. change for concessions that would admit Ameri. quiry on the part of statesmen, business men, can goods to those countries on terms greatly and political economists. Meanwhile, the coun superior to those granted to European countries. try is doing very well indeed, and there is no The future historian of American political and need whatever for abrupt action.

trade policy will probably justify Mr. Blaine's

proposal as statesmanlike in a high sense, being The great demand of the day in all peculiarly adapted to the conditions that existed Facts in the departments of life and activity is for at that time ; and the historian will recite as sin.

real knowledge. The isthmian-canal gularly unfortunate the series of political acci. question has been before the country for several dents and partisan decisions that thwarted and decades, yet Congress was doubtless justified in blighted Mr. Blaine's brilliant policy. But the expending a million dollars for this latest inquiry conditions are more complicated to-day, and it in acknowledgment of the fact that the requisite would be correspondingly difficult to set forth information was still lacking upon which to base a consistent and acceptable plan of reciprocity. action so momentous as the construction of an It was evident last month that practical business interoceanic waterway. It is almost inevitable men, irrespective of party lines, were proposing that Congress will decide that the country can. to take these questions of reciprocity and tariffnot take up the ship-subsidy question without far revision into their own hands. An important more knowledge than it now possesses. The convention of manufacturers, under the chair. more that topic is discussed the plainer does it manship of Mr. Theodore C. Search, of Philabecome that almost nobody understands it at all. delphia, met at Washington to formulate their There is an oft-quoted remark of Bismarck's to views in favor of a reciprocity policy. On the the effect that only two men—himself and one other hand, a league of American agricultural other—had ever understood the Schleswig-Hol. producers, under the special direction of Mr. stein question, and that the other man was long Herbert Myrick, was preparing to resist to the since dead. Before a country like ours can enter utmost any concessions in favor of Cuban or upon an important phase of economic policy like other foreign sugar or tobacco, while a delegathe paying of subsidies to develop the business tion from Cuba arrived at Washington to preof sailing merchant ships under the American sent arguments and petitions for the opening of flag there must be a great many men who firmly the American market to Cuba's chief productions. believe that they understand the subject in its It will be found hard indeed to reconcile the di. principal bearings. With all deference to those verse views that will be presented to Congress. who have been prominent in its recent discussion, In this matter, therefore, as in others, the one

Wanted : The


« PreviousContinue »