Page images
PDF
EPUB

Not the banker or capitalist, against whom the silver people are attempting to raise such hue and cry. The brains that understand finance and accumulate great fortunes can be depended upon to escape with a minimum of loss; but the maximum of disaster would fall upon the American laborer.

The moment the free and unlimited coinage of silver at the ratio of sixteen to one is adopted, that moment, in all the markets of the world, our silver dollar will be rated, not at its stamped value, but at its real value of 51 or 52 cents. Sixteen ounces of silver are worth only about one-half of an ounce of gold, and hence our silver dollar at the ratio of sixteen to one will be worth only about one-half of a gold dollar. Every man who has a dollar in gold will keep it, if he can pay his debts with a silver dollar worth only half as much as the gold dollar. This will withdraw gold from circulation here ; and gradually all our gold-about $659,000,000 in coin and bullion—will cross the Atlantic to pay our foreign obligations that are redeemable only in that metal.

The withdrawal of our gold coin (aggregating $620,000,000) now in circulation would shrink our currency to the extent of one-third. This disturbance of our financial system would be rendered the more appalling by the immediate shrinkage in the value of our silver coin to one-half of its present purchasing power. The financial stringency of 1893 would be reproduced on a gigantic scale. Depositors in banks would demand the payment of their deposits in gold. Runs on these institutions would cause fifty per cent of them to close their doors. Notes could not be discounted, and employers doing business on a credit basis would fail. Workingmen would be thrown out of ev ployment. Rates of interest would go up as the general ability to eudure the burden declined. Crash and panic—each producing the otherwould be the continuous order of the hour.

This state of affairs would be the first calamity to fall on American labor from the free and unlimited coinage of silver at the ratio of sixteen to one. The long train of consequent and subsequent evils almost defies description.

To Mexicanize our money means to Mexicanize our labor. It is a fact deduced from universal history that the rates of wages do not increase in proportion as the money in which they are paid decreases in value. There are few things slower than a rise in wages while the commodities or necessaries of life for which these

wages are expended fluctuate in price from day to day. There are few things swifter than a decrease of wages in hard times. There is nothing that produces hard times more quickly than an unstable or fluctuating currency. It unsettles securities and deters investments. It destroys confidence, which is the mother of business enterprise.

That the American workingman, therefore, should desire the establishment of the least variable standard of currency seems to be the plainest proposition of common sense. The dollar paid to him in wages should be equal in purchasing power at all times and everywhere to that paid to the owner of a bond. A day's labor is the same in physical exhaustion whether the compensation for it is in dollars worth fifty cents or in dollars worth one hundred cents. What is more important, therefore, to the laborer than that the money standard of his wages shall be as fixed as the labor for which those wages are paid ?

When there are two kinds of money, one cheaper than the other, capital will always endeavor to pay labor in the poorer currency, and to secure its own profits in the better. In addition to that, the laborer, under the silver régime, would be forever at the mercy of the market manipulators in exchange rates, and every disaster that occurred to depress industry would drive down the price of silver and force up the price of gold. The laborer, however, cannot hold his silver money until the market takes an upward turn for that metal. Unlike the rich man, the laborer, having but little money, must pay as he goes. He must part with his wages for the necessaries of life. When the market price of silver is down, he gets so much less for his money. In which currency, therefore, should labor, from any standpoint of common sense, desire to be paid ?

Gold in all history has been the one universally accepted medium of international exchange. Until there is some agreement among the countries of the earth for international bimetallism, gold will remain the standard money of the nations. Labor, accordingly, should not be satisfied unless the reward of toil is paid in dollars that everywhere pass current at one hundred cents apiece. The American workingman should ponder the fact that poor money is the poorest agency in making poor people rich.

ROWLAND B. MAHANY.

PETTICOAT GOVERNMENT.

BY MAX O’RELL.

WITH COMMENTS BY MRS. H. P. SPOFFORD AND MRS. MARGARET

BOTTOME, PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF KING'S DAUGHTERS AND SONS.

I.

I LOATHE the domination of woman, but I ever crave for her influence, and I believe that any man of refinement and thinking, that any lover and admirer of woman, will echo this senti. ment.

I know of one country only where the government by woman was given a real trial, and that is New Zealand. The law was passed and the experiment was made. The law had to be repealed after six months. The government had taken such a tyrannical form that that loveliest of spots on the earth was on the eve of a revolution, of a desperate struggle for liberty.

Things were pretty badly managed in a small Ohio city when I was visiting it four years ago. The following year women put up their names as candidates for the City Council in every ward and were all returned. They did manage the city. The following year the experiment had been made, and not one woman was returned again.

The American men are so busy, so long absent from home, that many of their womankind have to find out a way of using the leisure time left at their disposal, with results that are not always altogether satisfactory. Some devote that time to literature, to the improvement of their brilliant native intellect; some spend it in frivolities; some indulge in all the fads of AngloSaxon life.

The women of good society in America are what they are everywhere else, satisfied with their lot which consists in being the adored goddesses of refined households; but there exists in this country, among the middle-perhaps what I should call in European parlance, lower-middle-classes, restless, bumptious, ever poking-their-poses-everywhere women who are slowly, but surely and safely, transforming this great land of liberty into a land of petty, fussy tyranny, and trying, often with complete success, to impose on the community fads of every shape and form.

If there is one country in the world where the women appear, in the eyes of the foreign visitor, to enjoy all manner of privileges and to have the men in leading strings, that country is America. You would imagine, therefore, that America should be the last country where the “ new woman was to be found airing her grievances. Yet she is flourishing throughout the length and breadth of this huge continent. She is petted by her husband, the most devoted and hard-working of husbands in the world ; she is literally covered with precious stones by him. She is allowed to wear hats that would “ fetch” Paris in Carnivai time, or start a panic at a Corpus-Christi procession in Paris or a Lord-Mayor's Show in London. She is the superior of her husband in education, and almost in every respect. She is sur- · rounded by the most numerous and delicate attentions. Yet she is not satisfied.

The Anglo-Saxon “new woman " is the most ridiculous production of modern times and destined to be the most ghastly failure of the century. She is par excellence the woman with a grievance, and self-labelled the greatest nuisance of modern society. The new woman wants to retain all the privileges of her sex and secure, besides, all those of man. She wants to be a man and to remain a woman. She will fail to become a man, but she may succeed in ceasing to be a woman.

And, now, where is that “new woman to be found ? Put together a hundred women, intelligent and of good society; take out the beautiful ones, then take out the married ones who are loved by their husbands and their children, and kindly seek the "new woman" among what is left-ugly women, old maids, and disappointed wives.

Woman has no grievance against man. Her only grievance should be, I admit, against Nature, which made her different from man; with duties different, physically and otherwise,

almost always to her disadvantage. The world exists and marches on through love. I pity from the bottom of my heart the good woman who is not to know the whispers of love of a good husband or the caresses of little children, but I am not prepared to see life become a burden for her sake.

There is no possibility of denying or ignoring the fact. The purpose, the raison d'être, of woman is to be a mother, as the raison d'être of a fruit tree is to bear fruit. And woe to the next generations; for everybody knows that only the children of quiet and reposed women are healthy and intelligent.

The woman question will only be solved by the partnership in life of man and wife, as it exists in France, where, thank God! the "new woman " is unknown; by the equality of the sexes, but each with different, well-defined duties to perform.

The "new woman" is not to be found outside of Great Britain, where woman is her husband's inferior, and of the United States, where she is his superior.

The woman who devotes a good deal of her time to the management of public affairs is a woman who is not required to devote much of it to private ones.

Show me a woman of forty !

Look on this picture : eyes bright, beaming with joy and happiness, complexion clear, rosy, plump, not a wrinkle, mouth smiling. See her lips bearing the imprint of holy kisses, and her neck the mark of her little children's arms. She has no grievAsk her to join the new woman army.

“No, thanks,” she will say with a smile of pity, "the old style is good enough for me."

And on this: thin, sallow complexion, eyes without lustre, wrinkled, mouth sulky, haughty, the disgust of life written on every feature. That woman will join the ranks of every organization which aims at taking the cup of love away from the lips of every happy being.

But all this might take the shape of a long digression. Let us see how some American women devote part of the time which they are not probably wanted to devote at home.

I think that of all the grand fads indulged in by some women in America the palm should be given to the compulsory waterdrinking work. That is a colossal illustration of what women can do when left entirely to their own resources.

[ocr errors]

ance.

« PreviousContinue »