« PreviousContinue »
By Alfred Henry Lewis
Mr. Lewis wants to know why the postal savings-bank system is not extended. Is there some occult influence at work? He also comments upon the story that Cuba is about to appeal once more to Uncle Sam for assistance, and he gives an interesting definition of Jingoism.
HAT saith the prophet? against law, through presidents, cabinets, “Thy princes are re and congresses, to drive humanity to the bellious, and compan
selfish shearing-sheds of their own rapaions of thieves; every cious interest.
one loveth gifts, and From the beginning, the postal savings followeth after rewards; they judge not the scheme encountered the unflagging opposifatherless, neither doth the cause of the tion of the national banks. They looked widow come unto them.” With such a upon the Government in the banking busitorch in the bows of consideration, let us ness as the rival shop, and they objected to take a look at our eminent ones.
competition. Thus objecting, they There is murmured Washington
sent word to their Congressmen complaint that occult influen
—whose names are legionces, as malign as hidden, are
to have the project killed. checking the extension of
Failing in efforts to kill the postal savings-banks.
the postal banks, they President Taft-like
would now hamstring Barkis-is willin'. Post
the system in its opermaster - General Hitch
Which ought cock insists that he is
to be a good reason eager. And yet the sys
why you who read tem does not extend.
should send word to Folk say that it is
your Congressmanthe powerful shoulder
if he hasn't already of the national banks
been stolen from you that holds fast the
and counterbranded door. Perhaps! Such
into the money herd—to interference in gov
make the fight of his ernment would be
career for its protection. vastly in line with
Postal savings is the the known hab
best banking scheme yet its and history
devised. What is the great of the national
element of the postal savingsbanks. The
bank? Safety to depositors. banks were
Which is the first great need politicians in
in a bank. The nation stands Jackson's time.
sponsor for every dollar They have been
brought into the postal savpoliticians ever
ings-banks. And the nation since. Their
doesn't embezzle, doesn't effort has been
ga mble in Wall Street, and still is, both
doesn't go into the hands by law and
President Taft-like Barkis-is willin' of a receiver, doesn't change
its name and skip to Europe when the boxes, tea canisters, and old stockings, withsmash descends.
drawing it from circulation. They put it Deposits being wholly safe, there can into the postal bank. The doors are always come no runs on the banks. Also, there can open. The money deposited is ready on be no bank-created panics, the ruinous co demand. There can come no locked-door rollaries of “runs” by stampeded depositors. occasions when—the Morgans and the In the postal banking system, there dwells Ryans and the Rockefellers having taken no black chance of your going down to your the deposits that they may cut your throat bank in the morning, and finding in the win with them-you are separated indefinitely dow a notice that the doors have been from your own money.
Or made to pay locked, a receiver installed over night, and four per cent. for it. Or, after a painful that you can't get a splinter of your money wait of months, given twenty cents on a until permitted so to do by Mr. Morgan, or dollar to call it square. Mr. Rockefeller, or Mr. Stillman, or Mr. By the postal savings-bank system, aside Ryan.
from a rock-ribbed security, you are paid When you lose, somebody else wins. In interest on your deposits. Having need of the panic of 1907, when you lost, the Mor money, you borrow from the postal bank for gans and Rockefellers and Ryans didn't about one-half what the Morgans and the lose. They quit richer by millions--mil Rockefellers demand. The Shylocks are lions collected from a million honest pockets. defeated, and for once in a way the working, These excellent gentlemen are the wreckers producing, honest man is given a victory. and beach-combers of finance. When the All these banking advantages of safety, oceans of commerce are storm-lashed, they sure loans, low interest, and no panics put on their financial oilskins and walk the should right now be everywhere wide open beach. Some ship of trade this firm or that to the people. The law is there. But the firm-founders and breaks to pieces. They politicians, dominated by the Shylocks, pick up the pieces. Half of Mr. Morgan's, owned by the money-changers, are quietly all of the late Mr. Sage's money was made in willing, in installing the banks, to go forward that beach-combing way.
as slowly as the popular patience will permit. There is this notable difference between. The big chance you have is to make your the real beach-comber and our great beach senators and representatives think that their combers of stocks. The Morgans and political lives are in danger if they betray Rockefellers, for their beach-combing, don't you by countenancing that slowness. have to wait for a storm. They can produce Every post office should be a government one whenever they will. Let but the Na bank. Italy, France, Germany have had tional City Bank "call" its $100,000,000 of them for years. They work, too. It was call loans. Lo! the tempest descends, and her postal savings-banks that armed with stocks are blown flat. It is then that the power the stricken hands of France after Morgans and Ryans and Rockefellers pick the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck's up stocks at 50, and sell them at 150 within exorbitant demands almost upon the nail. the month.
It is they, and such as they, who are just When Doctors Disagree now seeking to limit the postal savings-bank system in its attempts to broaden out. Such
PRESIDENT TAFT, a little ruefully, is broadening would mean less money to them, constrained to confess-in privatemore money to you, which is a financial situ that his much-advertised Scientific Tariff ation that they are not anxious to bring Commission doesn't work. For one confusabout.
ing matter, the doctors disagree, and the There should be no difficulty in evolving Commission too often presents that speca perfect bank—a bank that is secure and tacle of failure, a house divided. sure. They make ships safe, and a bank Better disband that scientific commission isn't so complicated as a ship. The postal and say no more about it. Whoever has savings-bank is in all respects a money-ship stood staring at government for, say, a decade that no reef can sink, no tempest drive will own no faith in commissions. A comashore. Being storm-safe, once a postal mission commonly is a slow, dull, fog-bound savings-bank is established in a town, the body of obscurities, which thinks and acts people no longer hide their money in strong like a cow in a swamp, sinking to the mental
hocks with every forward step. It is invented to do the work that somebody else should do, and its real purpose is to save that inventive somebody from responsibility and, in all chance, condemnation. When the work is dangerous, or a crime is in contemplation, "statesmen" unfailingly take refuge in a commission. If the work be safe, and honorable celebration sure, the "states
The Morgans and Rockefellers and Ryans, for their beach-combing, don't have to wait for a storm men" do the work themselves. Let's have trusts and the railroads are as big crimno tariff commission, selected by money, inals as ever. controlled by heaven knows whom. Congressmen are elected to make up the tariff Is Cuba Tottering? bills. Let them do the work. We, the people plundered, can get at a Congressman. NOW
TOW that the Government confessesNothing ever comes of any commission. what every one of us has known since Commissions are but time-wasters and meat- February, 1898—that the Maine was sunk wasters and cumberers of the earth. Take by an enemy, and not by herself, a bythe Inter-state Commerce Commission. product of the confession would seem to be How long have we had it? And yet the a renewed interest in Cuba. In and out of
our State Department, among folk official mere country will serve to stay the moveand unofficial, there exists the belief that ment. Within the coming year, those who Cuba will not stand alone upon her own should know most of Cuba and Cuban unsupported legs another twelvemonth. feeling say that the Cuban flag will disapThere will be a little sputtering flash of revo pear, and what places have known it be oclution, they say. No one will get hurt. cupied by the Stars and Stripes. There will occur much jabber and no blood. What effect would talk of annexing Cuba And then-Cuba will fall backward into the have on the White House chances of Mr. arms of her Uncle Sam.
Taft? The word is that he slyly encourages Every Cuban with a dollar has his eyes it-being advised thereunto by Cabineteers upon this country. Also, he is eager to Knox and Wickersham, and also by Senator "join.” Already, they have a saying in Penrose. Upon a similar argument of popHavana: “Stand a Cuban on his head, and ularity, rumor also has it that Mr. Taft is if a peseta roll out of his pocket, he's an looking hard for an excuse to invade Mexico. annexationist.” The foreign capital in Cuba Indeed, the latter charge is made by a is about $400,000,000. The local capital is unanimous Mexican press. $700,000,000 more. Every dollar of that Neither yarn is worth belief. Mr, Taft is $1,100,000,000 wants to come in under the no one to toss an innocent country on the protecting pinion of the Eagle.
horns of his ambitions. The annexation of Those who own that $1,100,000,000 of Cuba would in no wise advance the popularcapital believe that were annexation an ac ity of Mr. Taft. The general American complished fact, every Cuban value would feeling would be averse to the coming of be multiplied by three. In short, that that Cuba. The Cuban, slight, flighty, saddle$1,100,000,000 would swell to $3,300,000,000 colored, only half wise and half honest, the moment that Cuba could call herself doesn't in the sense racial hail from our side part and parcel of the United States. of the mountain. To bring such into the
With that the common Cuban belief, how Union would be but to muddy the national should you expect to head off annexation? stream. Patriotism? It is oftener, even in this country, of the pocketbook than anything What Is Jingoism? else. It grows more so—as the late A. Ward would have said-as you edge toward THERE were recently 106 warships, flythe equator.
ing the Stars and Stripes, assembled Patriotism, with a last word, is but a in the Hudson. President Taft reviewed selfish virtue. Colonel Cooper, recently on them; Secretary Meyer reviewed them. trial in Nashville, told a story in illustration Their hearts swelled, and they talked of a of this. Colonel Cooper belonged to Gen- larger navy. eral Forrest's command. On one close Now that Congress has come together, shave occasion, the Yankees had been chas the fires of naval interest again flare up. ing them for two nights and a day. It was The flaring has served to excite those usual rain and snow and slush; the mud was up to cries of "Jingoism” from certain New York the saddle girths. Hungry, without sleep, papers. Colonel Cooper and his men pressed for In the interest of a full-breasted Americanward, the inveterate Yankees crowding their ism, which isn't on its knees to Europe and retreating hocks.
feels confident of its position in society, Finally, a gentleman named Evans drew there is a truth or two that should be told up alongside of Colonel Cooper. Mr. Evans concerning that epithet Jingo. The term was a private soldier; his home was in Jingo is greatly favored in certain timid Nashville. Also, he was deeply worked up. quarters. It is always confidently resorted Turning an indignant face, he said:
to by those who employ it as though merely “Look yere, Dunc Cooper; thar's one to utter it were bound to close discussion. thing I want everybody to und'stand. This They assume that no one, not even the most is the last blanked country I'm ever going to hardy, would dare for one moment dispute love."
that the word Jingo implied in the citizen so And so with the Cubans. Thinking of described all that was publicly reckless and self, believing that a short cut to riches is to insane. be found in annexation, no consideration of Said Patrick Henry on a great occasion,