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floor," or by paying them outright for favorable votes and influence. This has been very much more profitable than paying to the city the true value of such privileges and franchises.
II. Next to commercialism, the greatest obstacle is partisanship, or the prostitution of public office and public measures to party success. A party, as a means to an end, is all right and proper, but as an end in itself it is all wrong; and yet in the United States we have made party and party success the end to be attained. To accomplish this we have utilized the offices. They have served, not to promote the comfort, happiness, and well-being of the people primarily, but to pay off party debts and to strengthen the party's working force.
III. During the Civil War, and for many years after, the rallying cry in our politics was “Measures, not men !” a cry still heard and still effective. So grave were the issues before the public during and immediately after the war, that they fell in with the idea that measures were everything, and men of but subordinate importance. Always a mistaken and unwise policy, it is still more so now, when the issues are mainly business ones.
The conditions of American political life we have been discussing apply with considerable if not equal force to State and national, as well as to municipal, politics. Those which we shall refer to hereafter apply only to municipal affairs.
IV. For sundry reasons which need not be referred to in the present connection the American people have formed an erroneous conception of the importance and extent of municipal government. They have come to regard it as of subordinate importance and have awarded first place in their interest and attention to national and State issues. As a general rule, we find ore space accorded to news concerning the latter than the former in the newspaper; and the average reader turns first to State and national news, leaving to the last, and more frequently entirely overlooking, the doings of municipal officers and bodies. The same tendency is to be seen in the interest manifested in elections. At the quadrennial presidential elections the greatest excitement prevails; the issues are widely and earnestly discussed and the merits of candidates canvassed. The vote polled is larger than at other elections and many vote only at such elections. Gubernatorial campaigns arouse but little less interest and bring out but a slightly smaller vote. When we come to municipal elections, however, the vote falls off to a marked degree, and apathy prevails, unless some issue accidentally introduced creates a temporary interest; or the election can be construed to have an important bearing on national or State elections.
V. Most if not all of our American cities fail to endow their executive officers with sufficient power to secure a well-rounded, continuous businesslike conduct of municipal affairs. They permit the local legislatures to interfere to too great an extent in the conduct of purely executive business, · with the result of preventing the officers in charge carrying out any plan involving careful preparation and slow execution.
VI. Want of local autonomy is simply the operation on a large scale of the obstacle just mentioned. Not only have we erred in our general plan of municipal government by modelling it to too great an extent on our federal government, with elaborate checks and balances, a bicameral system, and so on, but also in permitting our State legislature to have too much to say as to municipal affairs.
CLINTON ROGERS WOODRUFF.
THE great modern highways of commerce, like the great military roads of an earlier period, have developed at certain stages and under favoring cir. cumstances into camps of humanity, which in turn have grown into cities and depots of commerce, becoming distribution points and centres of production for their respective spheres of influence. In no case has this been more particularly marked in the growth of the American Continent than along the lines of those earlier bighways which, later on, traversed by steam railroads, have doveloped the necessity for centres of distribution along their route. Thus the transcontinental route from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast has almost created cities, a day's journey apart, even like the castra of the Roman roads. They follow in an unbroken line from East to West, from New York to San Francisco, including Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, Denver, and the growing cities of the great West. Each has its peculiarity of location, its advantage from being on the great highway, its value as a distributing centre and as a manufacturing point,and the profit that accrues from being the place from which radiate the scores of minor highways of trade that are tributary to and are fed by the greater trunk lines. Of this group of American cities, built up under the influence of the growth of modern transportation facilities, there is none which presents a more marked example of healthy growth, or of the operation of the law of the survival of the fittest, than Detroit. Originally founded as a French military station, on the water route from Montreal to the great northwestern country bordering upon the lakes, it grew under the influence of a rapidly increasing trade with the savages until it had become very respectable trading post. The division of the country between the European nations which were colonizing North NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW ADVERTISER.
America, the transfer of dominion from France to Great Britain, made it a most important strategic point, and the final transfer of sovereignty to the United States operated in the same direction. In addition, the opening of the middle West in the early part of the century brought adventurous traders and Eastern people, already then discontented with their locations, into the West, some of them with capital, some of them with brains, but all with industry and the spirit of perseverance.
The Great Lakes were exploited. Buffalo was an important place sixty years ago. Fine steamboats were built for lake service. There were no railroaus. The waterways were truly the highways of commerce. The goods of the East came West in exchange for the products of the farm and the chase. Then came the era of speculation incident to a cheapened currency, the time when fortunes were plainly seen in the West for all who chose to apply for them. Following hard on this was the fever for internal improvements, for canal building, and what not, which struck Michigan quite as hard as any other commonwealth of the then developing West. Next came the railroad, with the competition to have this or the other scheme first completed, and with this spirit of competition came the Detroit of today. The completion of the Michigan Central Railroad from Detroit to Chicago, before there was an outlet by rail to the East, was the beginning of the city, to-day one of the large stopping places on the way from the East to the West. Immigration followed hard on railroad building, the population came, and with the gregariousness of men it halted where population already was. The farmland was subdued, the timber laid and cut, and the products of field and forest brought to the market. The story of the making of the city is the story of the growth of every substantial and important American city.
Detroit stands to-day, a city of three hundred thousand souls, less than a day's ride from New York, and less than a daylight journey from Chicago, and located on the strait through which passes all the commerce of the lakes from the northwest to the sea. The grain from Duluth and Chicago that is moved by water, the copper from the Michigan mines, the salt from the Saginaw Valley and the shores of Lake Michigan, the ore from the mines of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the lumber that is destined to move from the northwest to the sea, all pass before her doors in continuous procession during eight months in the year, in quantity half a dozen times
greater than the tonnage of the Suez Canal, equal to the commerce of the Thames and the Mersey put together, and greater for the eight months period of navigation than the commerce entering New York harbor in a twelve-month. Back from East to West the carriers bring their loads of coal and manufactured goods in exchange for what they have brought in the direction of the sea.
Detroit's greatest advantage is her water transportation. During seven or eight months of every year she has the cheapest kind of transportation, the value and the importance of which to the country needs only to be considered in order to be realized. The States of New York, Pennsylvania, Obio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota touch on the same highway to which she has access, and by means of it she is accessible to the cities of Buffalo, Erie, Tonawanda, Sandusky, Cleveland, Toledo, Port Huron, Alpena, Cheboygan, Manistee, Ludington, Grand Haven, St. Joseph, Michigan City, Chicago, Milwaukee, Sheboygan Wis.), Manitowoc, Green Bay, Escanaba, Gladstone, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Marquette, Houghton, Superior, West Superior, Duluth, and the many minor places which dot the American and Canadian shores of the Great Lakes.
In addition to these unrivalled facilities, her rail facilities are superb. Three trunk lines to the east, the Grand Trunk, Michigan Central, and Canadian Pacific, are at her service, while to the west and north and southwest she has the Michigan Central and Grand Trunk again, supplemented by the Wabash and Lake Shore Railroads, and the Flint and Pere Marquette, the Detroit, Lansing & Northern, the Detroit & Mackinaw, and the other minor lines running to every section of Michigan from Detroit as a common centre. Her distribution facilities in every direction are unexcelled by those of any American city, Chicago not excepted.
Detroit does business, too. For the first half of this year her bank clear. ings were $150,456,961, a gain of $699,093 over the corresponding half of the previous year. For the years 1891-95 the transfers of real estate in the city aggregated $112,600,000, nearly half the present assessed valuation. Her people are home owners. Twenty thousand families of laboring people own their own homes or are in process of acquiring them. In the years 1891-95 the building permits issued by the Fire Marshal covered new properties of a valuation of $27,000,000 and upwards. Even during the last year of depression three millions of money were put into new buildings. She has 236% miles of paved streets, nearly all of it renewed within five years, and of a permanent character. The corporation itself owns $20,000,000 worth of property, including public buildings, schools, parks, water-works, and police and fire equipment.
There are 200 miles of electric railways in her streets or leading to
suburban towns. The city owns its own electric lighting plant, 32 fire-engine houses, a steam fireboat for river service, a public library with upward of 150,000 volumes, a house of correction which is operated at a profit to the city, and all the buildings in which its public business is transacted. It has a new public high school built at a cost of half a million, and 61 public schools of the primary and grammar grades. Against all this it has a net public debt of $4,990,000, showing an excess of convertible assets over its debt of upwards of fifteen millions of dollars. Its tax rate is a trifle over 1% per cent. upon the assessed valuation, which is rated at about two-thirds of the actual valuation. The taxation rate is, therefore, about 1 per cent. upon actual values. Insurance rates are low, thanks to a good water and fire systein. In the business district the water supply is duplicated to the fire hydrants. The death rate averages 15.03 per 1,000.
Detroit's manufactures are diversified. About 3,000 persons find employment in the manufacture of tobacco in its various forms. Five thousand, roundly, are employed at stove making. Seven thousand are dependent upon the car-building industry. Shipyards employ a thousand men steadily. Iron works, forges, engine-building shops, woodworking and furniture establishments, malt-houses, breweries, electrical works, paint factories, and hundreds of other varied lines employ labor the year around. The Ferry Seed house is one of the largest in the world. The Parke-Davis pharmaceutical establishment is the largest of its kind. The MichiganPeninsular Car Works have an unrivalled capacity for turning out freight
A new industry now attracting attention is that of salt production. Just below the city and upon the river front lie, at accessible depths, rock salt strata aggregating 550 feet in thickness. Already the two greatest producers of soda ash and the alkalis of soda have secured locations in this district. Since 1893, $11,000,000 of capital has engaged to go into this district. The prediction is freely made that ten years hence will see 15,000 people dependent upon and supported by this industry, which at this time has not so far progressed as to employ more than 1,500 mostly in constructive work.'
Detroit is a growing city. Its population grows at the rate of 1,500 per month. Its labor is docile and tractable. It has a great supply of unskilled labor, available for all lines of heavy manufacturing. Living rates are reasonable. Rents are not excessive. It has scores of undeveloped sites yet which promise great returns to capital judiciously invested. Its population is indulgent of capital. It has a Chamber of Commerce, composed of 700 of its leading business people, which makes it its business to inform people who want to know about Detroit, and which will gladly give detailed information on special lines.
JOHN A. RUSSELL, Secretary of The Detroit Chamber of Commerce.