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ample outlet to accommodate the present demands of surplus population. The Carey law was enacted in August, 1894, and formally accepted by the States of Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Nevada during the legislative sessions of 1895. And the laws which the States enacted in connection with the acceptance of the grant were for the most part such as to justify the confidence of those who had believed in the ability and honesty of the State governments. These laws generally provided for State engineering departments to develop scientific plans of reclamation ; for fixing the maximum price at which lands could be sold; and, most important and hopeful of all, for the transfer of the irrigation works to the landowners as fast as districts are settled. Much work is being done under the “Carey law" and the only complaint which has arisen under it is of restrictions which make it difficult to use the lands as the basis of securities issued for the purpose of raising money to construct works. The issue of such securities is not inconsistent with the spirit of the law and ought not to be with its letter. The remedy is to make the cession of the million acres absolute rather than conditional. The State should be trusted with full responsibility in connection with this comparatively small amount of land. In no other way is it possible to make the law a real test of the principle involved.
But although the Carey law has relieved the situation, it has not cured it. The true interest of the arid region and of the nation demands the application of a comprehensive policy, based on scientific and practical knowledge of all the diverse interests involved in these Western problems. Such a policy cannot be framed in a day or a year. But there are three steps which might be taken without delay, and which would prevent the further dissipation of national resources, while providing means toward a final solution. These steps are as follows :
1. Make the donation of one million acres to each of the States absolute and unconditional, so that the policy of State control of irrigable lands may be fairly tested.
2. Repeal the Homestead and Desert Land laws, and thus prevent the further acquirement of public lands for private speculation.
3. Appoint a National Irrigation Commission, composed of men especially fitted by training and experience for the under
taking, and charge this commission with the work of studying the whole problem of the arid' region, including forests, pasturage and agricultural lands, interstate and international streams. Let this commission consider how far the nation must co-operate with the States in developing the great public property represented by the arid region, and in making it the basis for the future settlement of millions of American citizens, and the seat of a wonderful industrial and social life.
The lands granted to the States under the Carey law will furnish an ample outlet for surplus population for the next five years. And, if this period is wisely used for the investigation and discussion of future policies, the dawn of the twentieth century will find Arid America in a position to sustain its part in the future growth of the United States. It is difficult to conceive of a single worthy objection to the moderate programme involved in the steps suggested. It calls for no large expenditure ; it does no injustice to settler or investor; it does not plunge the nation into any headlong course from which it cannot retreat. It merely recognizes the existence of a rising national problem, and looks to its solution in time to meet the national need. It is such a plan as foreign statesmen have applied repeatedly and successfully when they have been dealing with undeveloped resources of vast ultimate value and importance.
It has been the fashion of certain Eastern newspapers to dispose of our great Western States and Territories with a sneer. Though these contain larger populations than did most Eastern States at the time of their admission to the Union, they are condemned as “rotten boroughs." Though the wealth of their natural resources is as ten to one compared with most Eastern States, they are treated as if they had no capabilities of future growth. The truth is that the most conservative authorities agree that Arid America can readily sustain as many people as now live in the entire Republic. But this mighty section is helplessly bound by a legacy of incongruous laws. The newspapers which assail and criticise it do nothing to assist in relieving it of its incubus. If half the energy used in criticism and arraignment were expanded in a generous effort to solve the problems of the West, several of the stock political epithets of the time would speedily become obsolete. It would seem as if the resources of our own country ought to be at least as interesting to
our own people as the shadowy issues of Venezuela, South Africa, and the North Pole. But they receive far less attention in Congress, in the newspapers, and in the magazines.
The seventeen splendid States and Territories of the arid region should no longer be treated as step-children of the Republic. They are legitimate and self-respecting offspring of the mother nation-as much as Massachusetts, or New York, or Pennsylvania. They will do their equal share to earn the family living and to glorify the family name. Nature planned them on nobler lines than most of their elder sisters. All they require is a little intelligent attention and a little genuine good will. If this can be given before it is too late, Arid America will become the most hopeful and interesting ground in the United States during the next century. No fairer opportunity for material conquest awaits any other nation, or any other part of the world.
WILLIAM E. SMYTHE.
A COMMON COINAGE FOR ALL NATIONS.
BY THE HON. CHARLES W, STONE.
STEAM and electricity have largely removed the barriers of time and space which separate nations. As the facilities for easy and rapid communication increase, the relations of different nations become more intimate, their commercial transactions with each other multiply, and the solidarity of the interests of all becomes more evident. Co-operation and reciprocal aid between nations by treaty covenants, by international conventions and conferences, by postal, telegraphic, and other unions, have with each passing year brought the nations of the world closer together. Laws are assimilated, customs are changed, and we are rapidly realizing the wisdom of the great Napoleon's declaration at St. Helena that what the world needs is “ a common law, common measure, and a common money."
common law can never fully reach down to local regulation and restraint while nations remain independent, but increasing knowledge of each other and the more cordial relations that come with easier, quicker, and more frequent communication will constantly tend to uniformity; and, above all, a common law applicable to nations as to individuals, a perfected and enlarged international law declared and administered by a great international court of arbitration, enforced by the compact of nations, which shall end wars and rumors of wars and usher in the era of universal peace, is also a dream of the philanthropist that may yet be realized.
A “common measure" has already spread over, most of the civilized world, and the probable adoption of the metric system of weights and measures in the near future by the United States, Great Britain, and Russia will make that system universal and save
much of the friction and loss which have heretofore been the outcome of diverse systems.
A common money," the means and measure of every exchange and business transaction, is still unrealized. It was said many years ago by Senator Sherman to have been the “hope of philosophers and statesmen, and the demand of writers on political economy for centuries,” but progress toward its attainment has been halting and slow.
France, in the forming of the Latin Union, and in the calling of international conferences to consider the subject, has labored zealously toward that end. The United States has never been indifferent. At the commencement of her national existence she sought to replace the various colonial systems then existing by a national coinage, and to secure uniformity through all the States she placed in the Constitution the express and broad prohibition that “no State shall coiu money.” The earliest to adopt a consistent and complete decimal system well adapted to universal use, she has never sought to force it on other nations, but has always realized the advantages of an international currency and stood ready to yield national pride and convenience to its attainment. In 1857, by direction of Congress, a special representative of this government was sent to England to urge uniformity of coinage between the two nations, but without result. The great finance minister of our war period, Secretary Chase, in his first report to Congress, called attention to the desirability of an international system ; and, in his second report, he again brought the matter to the attention of Congress and advocated the reduction of our half eagle to the value of the English sovereign, as a first step in the movement. Later, at the international conference of 1867, the United States, through their representative, assented to a still greater reduction of our half eagle, so as to make it equal twenty-five francs, if by that means a common coin could be secured. The movement then so zealously pressed, which at one time promised practical results, failed, largely from the fact that some of the nations whose co-operation was essential were on a silver basis, some on a gold basis, while some had a double standard, and the distinct and diverse interests arising from this condition of things made union on a common basis practically impossible. To this should be added something of national jealousy, rivalry, and pride; something of the inertia of firmly