« PreviousContinue »
sugar producers of Porto Rico and the
neither the grocer nor the United States Philippines; all get a bonus from our sugar government can modify the world price of consumers. The sugar planters in Cuba sugar. That
must be paid by the consumer also get a little; but theirs is a small slice, in any case. Having paid this, the purchaser since their sugar is not admitted free, but would be politely informed that there were is charged with almost the whole duty. On some other items that he must attend to. the whole, it is a somewhat expensive lux- He would be asked to step up to a separate ury, this encouragement of a widespread cashier's wicket and settle certain additional and diversified sugar industry.
charges that the Government imposes. First,
he would be asked to pay on his modest SUGAR DUTY SHOULD BE REDUCED
purchase, an additional ten cents for Uncle The sugar industry has important fiscal Sam's own use,-to help in running the aspects. It does bring in a lot of revenue to Government, in paying salaries and pensions, Uncle Sam's treasury, and that revenue can in building battleships, in maintaining the not be easily dispensed with. Yet the duty army, and so on. And after having settled is so high, and bears with such special this, the purchaser would be asked to weight on the masses, that it ought to be pay still another item-twelve cents more. cut down substantially. At the least, it This second sum, he would be told, was for ought to be reduced to one cenť a pound. the benefit of the sugar producers, to be paid Of course the sugar people, from Porto Rico over to these persons in the form of a bounty to Louisiana and from Michigan to Hawaii, of 112 cents per pound on the sugar prowill protest that the slightest reduction will duced by them. (From 1890 to 1893 we ruin them. So will the wool-growers, if the actually did pay on domestic sugar a bounty wool duty is touched; so will the woolen outright; there being, during those three manufacturers, if the duty on their product years, no duty on sugar.) The purchaser, is touched. No one wants to ruin them. if he objected on the ground that this was a In all such changes, regard must be had for new thing, would be told that his objection the vested interests that have grown up under showed great ignorance. The charge would the shelter of the established national policy. not be a new one-simply the long-existing But it is impossible to accomplish anything tax collected in a new way. And if the purfor the consumers unless some one is hurt; chaser became curious and began to ask and the extent of the hurt will be obstrep- questions about details, he would be told erously exaggerated by those who feel it. that the exact effect of his last twelve cents
The effect of all tariff duties—whether on on the sugar producers is a complicated wool, or woolens, or sugar, or lumber, or matter. Some of them could certainly get hides, or the thousand and one tariff rates- on very comfortably without it. Some of is obscured by the fact that they do not them perhaps need it, in order to keep in take the form of direct levy on the con- the business. Some are farmers in Colosumer, but the disguised form of an enhance- rado or Michigan, some are planters in ment of the prices that he must pay. To Hawaii and Porto Rico. Some are getting make vivid the actual situation, let us sup- the bounty by a sort of fluke, the legislature pose for a moment that the Government never having deliberately meant that they adopted a different method of reaching the should have it.
should have it. But then, our customer consumer. Suppose, for example, that the would be told, this is all part of the grand retail grocers were made agents for collect- system of fostering domestic industry. ing the sugar tax. Then every householder Never mind just how it works or who gets who bought fourteen pounds of sugar- the benefit. It makes us a rich and prosabout a dollar's worth-would be informed perous country, and you had better pay by the grocer that his charge was 80 cents cheerfully. (more or less). This would be at present Suppose this were done week in and week the strict commercial price (at retail). We out, month after month, year after year; all know that sugar has been high during every purchaser being called on again and the last six months. The strict commercial again to make his separate payment for the price a year ago would have been only 55 support of the protected industries-how or 60 cents for the fourteen pounds. But long would such taxes last?
By Alfred Henry Lewis
Since the last municipal election in Philadelphia, no one has accused that city of being asleep. She mustered enough wideawake voters at the polls to kill off the bosses, for the time being at least, and to put Rudolph Blankenburg in the mayor's chair. Aside from being a reformer, Mr. Blankenburg is a big man in his own right, as Mr. Lewis shows in the following sketch
BURG is mayor of Phil-
that Boss Penrose and the machine could do to stop it. When a man can be elected mayor of Philadelphia, denouncing the bosses, defying the machine, he is worth writing about. Also, to steal a phrase from the police, he is worth looking over. Go to West Logan Square; any one can show you the house. There should be no vast trouble in meeting him; like all big men, he has but one manner and one door.
There is a rough and ready atmosphere to Mr. Blankenburg. And yet the roughness has polish, and nothing of vulgarity. Essentially, he is of the open air. The feeling that he gives you is one of stir and power and enterprise. He will see more than he will think, do more than he will say. Nor will he be all day doing it.
The great impression that Mr. Blankenburg gives is one of selfconfidence. He has the heart of a victor. None the less, he has shown that he can lose with grace. That is, lose a battle; he would never lose a war. This has been for thirty years his story. The bosses have beat him off in an engagement. But he was back at the attack as soon as he could reform his lines or call up his reserves.
While calling himself a Republican, Mr. Blankenburg is essentially a reformer. There are reformers and reformers. You have met the thin
The "team" that promises to reform civic affairs in Phila
gette and promises to do her part in bringe
cardboard kind, of whom it might be said Aside from certain iron qualities of decithat you had but to open their front door sion and practical wit, Mr. Blankenburg has to be in their back yard. Differing from the gift of handling men. He is a brilliant these, Mr. Blankenburg as a reformer pos- orator, of stump and platform kind, thinksesses length, breadth, and thickness. ing like a bullet, talking like a spear. He is
Considered personally, Mr. Blankenburg one of those uncommon ones who think is big, wise, faithful, obstinate for right. He best and talk best standing on their feet. is not at all in love with himself, and lacks Above, I have given you a free-hand sketch egotism and an intriguing talent for de- of Mr. Blankenburg as, addressing the eye, sign. Mentally, morally, physically, he he graves himself upon the imagination. wants in every element of the mollycoddle. Coming a stranger to meet him, it is what He has a sense of humor, and can tell a joke, you will see, what you will think. But the and see a joke, and laugh like a storm. His Blankenburg career? There should be a mind is as clean as a woman's.
lesson in that. The upgrowing boys should
Rudolph Blankenburg and Mrs. Blankenburg on inauguration day, December 4. Mrs. Blankenburg is an ardent suffraing about the reformation for which the Quaker City voted after forty years of corrupt government
read it. He has won victory. His life has. instinct pronounced in favor of the comhad success. Beginning poor-he has made mercial instead of the religious. himself rich. Obscure-he has drawn to Mr. Blankenburg came to America in himself celebrity. A stranger in a strange 1865. He had just edged his way into his land-he has surrounded himself with
twenty-second year. He headed for Philafriends. Where others have failed, he has delphia, as had Franklin a century and a triumphed. Where others fell back, he third before. Like Franklin, too, he stayed stepped forward. How did he do this?
and prospered. Plainly, he understood the art of living. Searching for the sermon that should lie
BEGAN AT $5 A WEEK in the life-triumph of Mr. Blankenburg, I Young "Rudy” couldn't have been handiput the question to one of his friends. capped by any overgrown notions, for he took
“This,” said the friend, “is the Blanken- his first step toward fortune as a clerk at burg theology. "Be honest---do right-the five dollars a week. He who would get more rest follows. Wrongdoing may endure for than he gives, must give more than he gets. a season; but right must in the long run That sounds like a paradox; but it works. come to the top. Human nature is not Young “Rudy" acted upon this axiom, and built so that roguery can prevail. Honest all with the excellent result that within one men must come to their own, no matter the year, his firm made him a traveling salesman, odds against them. There is nothing surer and in five, sent him to Europe as a buyer. than that. Calumny and thieving may have What saith the scriptures? Whoso findtheir run, but they will pass. Nothing can eth a wife, findeth a good thing. Young last but truth. It is the law of the universe. Rudy” took unto himself a wife. This last Evil by its nature cannot last. Never mind was supremely sagacious. Orange blooms the odds against you, if you are right. Being are ever flowers of wisdom, and only married in the right is more than odds.' There,' men succeed. The Napoleons and Cromconcluded the friend, "you have the Blank- wells and Washingtons and Lincolns and enburg theology. It is what he has taught; Grants were all married. Boys hungering it is what he believes; it is what has brought for highest advancement, socially, comhim honor, riches, place."
mercially, politically, must start at the altar. Mr. Blankenburg was born sixty-eight Davy Crockett was won't to say, “Be sure years ago in the town of Hillentrup, near you're right, then go ahead." What he Hanover, in the German principality of should have said is, “Be sure you're marLippe-Detmold. He was baptized "Ru- ried, then go ahead." ” dolph," and is said to have howled like a Mr. Blankenburg has often spoken of heathen throughout the serious ceremony. 1875 as the "proudest year of his life." It His father was the Reverend Louis Blanken- was the year in which he became a fullburg. The Blankenburgs were neither poor blown American citizen. nor rich, and the childhood of “Rudy”. In 1876, he left the importing outfit, as his family called him-while not lapped with which he began his commercial life, in luxury, passed unvexed by the howlings and opened a business of his own. It grew of any wolves of want.
and broadened. The company still exists
as “R. Blankenburg & Co.," although Mr. TRAINED FOR THE PULPIT
Blankenburg retired from active relations There were ten in the Blankenburg family therewith about two years ago. as they assembled about the Blankenburg In what time he could spare from his dinner-over which Blankenburg père, be business, Mr. Blankenburg took up politics. sure, failed not to say a German grace-and Like another great publicist, he felt it to “Rudy," with seven brothers and sisters, be the duty of every citizen to pull at least could not complain of loneliness. The eight his weight upon the public rope, and began young Blankenburgs, "Rudy” with the feeling about for the rope. rest, gained their book-knowledge under As he went pushing his guileless young private tutors and at the public gymnasium. way into politics, Mr. Blankenburg in the The Reverend Louis, from the heginning, beginning didn't consider the bosses, but designed “Rudy” for the pulpit. He was looked only at the platform. It didn't refated to disappointment; for as the young quire any too many elections to cure him of Blankenburg neared the pulpit age, his that. Platforms, as experience shows, are not of the first importance. Doubtless, they tics beyond a purpose of good government. have their value as candidates go climbing After that they gave him up as a simple into office. They are, however, so much like harebrain, honest, but hopeless. For his the platforms of a street car that no one seems part, Mr. Blankenburg, all undismayed, to have any use for them once he's aboard. kept boring ahead for good government. Indeed, commonly the parties themselves, It has been stated that Mr. Blankenburg like the traction companies, object to any made a specialty of refusing offers of office. one's occupying the platform after the car He has been a candidate for two. He was is in motion. The order then is to go inside elected city commissioner and he holds his and sit down.
present post of mayor. That, as an office
seeker, is the whole of the Blankenburg THF BARKER AND HIS PROMISES
offence. Over at Coney Island, at the mouths of There occurred that which was unique tent and booth and hurdy-gurdy, stand in connection with that Blankenburg city “barkers” reciting the marvels to be wit- commissionership. The salary was $5,000 nessed within. Should you pay your money a year, and Mr. Blankenburg wouldn't and attend the show, you will be greatly receive it. At the close of his three-year struck by the yawning difference that sub- term, he placed the total $15,000 in the sists between the promises of the "barker" hands of the City Trust, with instructions and the performance of what mountebanks to apportion the income forever equally he serves. Wherein lieth the application? between the pension funds of the school Marry! In this: the “barker," he of teachers, the firemen, and the police. leathern lung and throat of brass, but gave “Better serve the people than exploit you the program, the platform; to which them," said Mr. Blankenburg; and it must later, the bold free mountebanks within be confessed, as a truth of practical politics, paid no more of performing heed than to the that in so saying and doing he stood as lone winds that idly blow. Mountebanks and as Lot's wife. politicians have much in common. Mr. But thus was it ever with Mr. BlankenBlankenburg was early in making this dis- burg. When he stumped Iowa for Mr. Harcovery. After that-locally, at least—he rison, he paid his own expenses. When he never looked at the platform, but only at fought Boss Quay in every corner of Keythe boss.
stone control, he. paid his own expenses. Ever since he could vote, Mr. Blanken- When, as super-cargo, he went with two burg has fought the bosses. More than relief ships to famine-bitten Russia, he paid thirty years ago, he nailed his glove to the his own expenses. . There was never a dollar gates of the machine. That glove is there spent by Mr. Blankenburg for Mr. Blankento-day. He fought McManes, and Quay, and burg that wasn't a Blankenburg dollar. Durham, and McNichol, and Penrose- The man who has helped thousands never each as he appeared. They used to bowl accepted help himself. him over, but he wouldn't stay bowled. He was up and at their throats again.
WILL HE MAKE GOOD? Mr. Blankenburg had an idea. An idea Well, we shall see what we shall see. In is ever a good thing. The Blankenburg idea his canvass for the mayoralty, Mr. Blankenwas that government should be honest. burg had but one plank to his platform, but
The honest activities of Mr. Blankenburg one promise in his mouth. The plank was were in their way so unusual that even Good Government; the promise was Good honest folk could not believe but what they Government. The world is yet to know how cloaked some design. Some said that he had that platform will be lived up to, that proman axe to grind; but a thorough ransack of ise redeemed. his surroundings failed to develop such hard- P. S. Mayor Blankenburg is proud of ware. Others said that he hungered for office; America and Americans. The one fault that but since he never asked for office, and re- he finds with the latter is that it is so difficult fused every offer of office, that theory, like to get them to work at their politics in person. the axe-grinding theory, had in the end to You can-he says-no more get the everybe abandoned. Friend and foe, with a last day American to take a working interest word, were constrained to concede that Mr. in politics than you can get a rich man into Blankenburg possessed no purpose of poli- heaven without a suspension of the rules.