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a Monthly Magazine for Self-Education.
RH i g h w a y en
HE movement for public ownership away invaluable franchises has been made by
and operation of public utilities, the machine” politicians of Pennsylvania. within the municipal sphere at least, Bills that had not been discussed or even is certain to be considerably strength- heard of were suddenly introduced in the
ened by the franchise controver- legislature providing for the incorporation sies in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. of companies for the construction of surface, In the latter commonwealth a “raid” elevated, and underground railways in all upon the streets of Boston by an elevated places where the authorities may consent to railway company was prevented by an execu- exclusive occupation and perpetual ownership tive veto. The corporation sought a forty- of the streets and highways of their respecyear franchise for a subway on terms so tive localities. No provision for compensaone-sided and unfair to the city that Gov- tion, reduction, or regulation of fares, or for ernor Crane felt himself constrained to resumption of ownership by the local governforewarn the legislature (from which the ments was made part of the bills. The grant was asked) that he would approve charters, moreover, were expressly made no act conferring the subway franchise which marketable commodities for the first seven did not contain a provision for a reference of years. No such sweeping, reckless grants the question to the voters of Boston. Home of property and power have been tolerated rule is not guaranteed by the Massachusetts anywhere in recent years, since the wideconstitution to the cities of that state to the spread recognition of the principle of comdegree elsewhere enjoyed, but there are pensation for franchises and proper control many precedents for the use of the referen- or regulation of public service corporations. dum in cases involving the property rights But Pennsylvania has suffered from legislaand interest of municipalities. The Massa- tive meddling and executive interference in chusetts legislature disregarded the warning, local affairs even more than Massachusetts. and passed the subway bill. A veto promptly The constitutional guaranties of home rule followed, and the message which accounted are wholly inadequate. They have not even for the governor's action was so searching, saved Pittsburg, Allegheny, and Scranton so masterly, so conclusive, that about sixty from the “ripper" acts which legislated of the legislators who had voted for the bill popularly elected mayors out of office and declined to override the veto. The press of put“ recorders” appointed by the governcr Boston was divided, and some papers accused in their places. Governor Crane of “usurpation," interfer- With but few exceptions the press of the ence with the legislature, and demagogical state bitterly denounced these bills as “play to the galleries.” But the hollowness“ legalized plunder of the pu';lic," political of these charges was patent to all fair-minded steals without a shadow of excuse in men, and the governor has received general economic or moral necessity. The bills commendation for his manly and courageous passed, the Republican majority being reëndefense of popular rights and home rule. forced by Democratic spoilsmen. Governor Governor Crane is a business man, not a Stone signed them without so much as the politician, and he can neither be corrupted formality of a public hearing. The benefinor deceived by sophistry. But how many ciaries of the measures did not lose any time. executives would have acted as he did in Scores of applications for “ omnibus' charsimilar circumstances?
ters were forthwith filed. The mere payment of An infinitely more flagrant — and, unfor- the required fee to the state gave them effect. tunately, so far successful — attempt to vote Thereupon the scene was shifted to Phila
delphia. Fourteen ordinances were introduced in the city council for railway construction within that city. They covered one hundred and twenty miles of streets and highways. The council was, of course, entitled to impose certain restrictions and conditions, but it did not exercise its power. It had the authority to protect the public interests, but did not use it. The press demanded a three-cent fare and “universal transfers,” but this was ignored. The ordinances were “jammed through,” and the mayor signed them incontinently. Mr. John Wanamaker has offered three million dollars for the franchises, stating that at a fair auction they would bring a good deal more. He has also offered three-cent fares for the early hours of the morning and evening and the acceptance of a clause giving the city the privilege of acquiring the system of street railways at the actual cost of the investment. But this, of course, has likewise been ignored by the officials and franchise holders. The courts are to be appealed to, but the possibility of relief from that quarter is rather remote, for the present constitution and laws of Pennsylvania invite spoliation and assaults upon home rule and public property. The events in the two states under discussion should have an educative effect.
The Cuban problem, for the present at least, is solved. The constitutional convention of the island, after much private discussion and no little public resentment, reconsidered the vote whereby the so-called Platt amendment was accepted with a certain number of qualifications, interpretations, and explanations, and voted – sixteen to eleven – for the adoption of that piece of congressional legislation in the form in which it passed and received the president’s signature. This unconditional acceptance has produced a favorable impression alike in the United States and in Cuba, though it must regretfully be admitted that there are alleged statesmen among us who persist in applying highly offensive epithets to the mem
THE LATE PROF. John FISKE,
Noted Lecturer and Historian.
bers of the convention and the Cubans generally, and who, apparently, are not satisfied with the restrictions imposed on Cuba's sovereignty. In truth and candor, Cuba is not and will not be – unless the Platt amendment is repealed or modified – a sovereign nation. The series of restrictions she has been compelled to accept implies dependence upon the United States. We are to exercise the authority of a “protecting ” nation, and Cuba is virtually a protectorate. She may, indeed, be regarded as a highly autonomous colony of the United States. Eventually she may win complete independence, and some of those who have strongly advocated the Platt amendment have explicitly asserted that it was intended as a provisional and temporary arrangement, to be terminated as soon as Cuba should demonstrate fitness for stable and orderly self-government. On the other hand, there are many who believe that annexation to the United States is, more than ever, Cuba’s “manifest destiny,” and that after a relatively brief trial of limited independence the islanders themselves will be knocking at our gates for incorporation. That there is much probability in the latter view is not to be denied. Cuba’s paramount need at present, according to her best representatives, is freer access to American markets. A liberal reciprocity treaty with the United States is regarded as necessary and just, but the sugar and tobacco industries of this country are certain to oppose material concessions to the Cubans. A forty per cent reduction of present rates is mentioned as the proper concession, but congress may deem it too radical. If Cuba shall fail to obtain industrial relief and improvement through reciprocity, a powerful impetus will be given to the annexation movement. Of course, no treaty or trade reciprocity can be negotiated at present. A native government must first be elected and installed. The constitutional convention has yet to draft and adopt an election act, but with that its task will be completed. It has no authority to do anything more. However, as long as it remains in session it is free to reconsider any part of the adopted constitution. It is reported that the provision for universal suffrage is likely to be redrawn and amended, and that a property or educational qualification for voting may be prescribed. The census figures indicate that such a qualification would mean minority suffrage. It would, moreover, disfranchise many of the patriots who have participated in the long struggle for independence. The debate upon the
suffrage proposition bids fair to be pro- tion has arisen whether the tariff duties now tracted. No immediate withdrawal of the levied on goods exported from and imported American army of occupation is contemplated into the archipelago under the Dingley act There is some talk of submitting the Cuban are legally imposed and collected. constitution to congress for examination and Unless there be something in the Philipapproval or disapproval. The president, pine situation to distinguish the question of under the Platt resolution, is under no obli- American - Philippine gation to consult congress with regard to his trade from that of course in Cuba, but he may desire to divide American-Porto responsibility with congress, and in that event Rican trade, it is the establishment of a native government in plain that under the the island will be delayed considerably. De Lima decision
the present tariff Civil government has been proclaimed in against the Philipthe Philippine Islands by an order of the war pines is invalid. But department, and Judge Taft, the president the fact that the of the civil commission, has been appointed supreme court rengovernor. The power exercised by the com- dered no opinion in manding general of the American military the Philippine case force in the Philippines terminated on July before it, coupled 4, and, excepting those parts of the archi- with certain theorpelago where insurrection still exists or etical considerations, where order cannot be maintained without has led to belief that Courtesy Detroit Photographic Co. military intervention, the administration will the Philippine tariff THE LATE HAZEN S. PINGREE, be purely civil.
may be upheld. It Formerly Governor of Nominally, however, the Philippine govern- has been suggested
Michigan. ment will remain under the direction and that the Philippines, control of the war department. This condi- though annexed by treaty, are not “a tion is the result of the late supreme court domestic territory” as yet, owing to the decisions in the “ territorial ” tariff cases. insurrection and the military rule which the It was held in those cases that a territory president has had to maintain there. The ceded to, annexed, and fully occupied by the cession by Spain has been followed by native United States becomes domestic in every resistance, and the occupation of the terrisense by virtue of such annexation and occu- tory has not been complete. This may be pation, and that the general laws for the taken into account by the supreme court in United States extend thereto by their own deciding the status of the archipelago. force, remaining in operation there until At any rate, the administration, in the congress, under constitutional authority, absence of authoritative judicial guidance, enacts different laws (so far as it may do has not deemed it advisable to change the so) for the inhabitants. Since congress has apparent legal situation in the Philippines. not passed any laws for the government or For this reason the civil government has taxation of the Filipinos, the serious ques- been placed under the control of the war
department. But no interference on the part of the latter is said to be intended. In all sections of the archipelago where peace prevails and American authority is recognized the government is to be truly and purely civil.
Meantime insurgent chiefs are surrendering one after another and taking the oath of allegiance. The civil commission has adopted a code of procedure and has established courts — general
and local, including a supreme A $100,000,000 STEAL.
court, with a native chief jus– Cleveland Plain Dealer. tice — throughout the islands.
The merit system has been applied to appointments in the civil service, and with unusual strictness, according to the testimony of Judge Taft himself. The commission has had to decide a curious language question. It appears that the Americans in the Philippines, numbering some ten thousand, demanded the adoption of English as the court language. All the intelligent and propertyholding Filipinos objected to this, and demanded the use of Spanish, the language spoken by fully a million natives. The foreign contingents like wise favored Spanish, and
The LATE SIR WALTER - BESANT, the commission
Noted English Novelist and accordingly passed a Critic. law providing for the
which must originate in the house. This argument is very shallow, since the Dingley law itself expressly authorizes the negotiation of reciprocity treaties, and prescribes the limits within which the ordinary rates may be modified. The house has given its consent in advance, and that such qualified delegation of power over legislation is perfectly proper has been determined in important litigation in the federal courts. The Manufacturers’ Club of Philadelphia has passed resolutions deprecating tariff agitation and favoring reciprocity only with respect to products not raised or made in this country. This would narrow reciprocity to insignificant proportions, and destroy its value almost entirely as a promoter of foreign trade. The latest Republican platform and the Dingley law go much farther, and recognize the application of the principle to all products. The second proposition is more vigorously disputed, but it finds many earnest advocates in the middle west. Scores of Republican newspapers have endorsed the spirit of the Babcock bill and denounced protection of trusts and industries like iron and steel as an abuse, and perversive of the original principle of encouragement for home industries. The American Protective Tariff Association and the Home Market Club (the latter a New England body) have vehemently attacked the Republican tariff reformers, and have demanded the repudiation by the congressional Republican organization of Congressman Babcock, for years the chairman of the
national congressional committee. The chief argument against the Babcock proposal is that, instead of injuring the powerful combinations and increasing competition, it would cripple the smaller, the independent competitors of the trusts, and that it would result in more concentration and monopoly than exist now. The trusts, it is urged, are fully able to dispense with protection, but the smaller concerns in the same industries need it as much as ever, and a repeal of the duties on the goods produced by them would drive them out of the field — to the detriment of the consumers and the workingmen. That there is force in this argument is admitted by leading economists, but it is certainly far from being conclusive. However, the most significant contribution to the lively discussion is that of the National Manufacturers’ Association, a strong, representative body, most of whose members have been aggressive protectionists. At its recent annual convention at Detroit the association adopted resolutions favoring wide reciprocity, the limitation of protection to such industries as actually needed it, and an elimination of the abuses of the protective system. Many of the delegates expressed radical views on the future trade of the country, declaring that the high rates were no longer an aid, but rather a hindrance, that protection was of little use to them, and that we must open our own door to foreigners if we wish to increase our exports. To many, reciprocity was too slow and unsatisfactory a method of promoting foreign trade. It was resolved to call a special convention for the purpose of arousing public sentiment and compelling the senate to ratify the pending reciprocity treaties. Countermeetings are said to be intended by the militant and extreme protectionists.
Nothing could be more gratuitous and inopportune than the agitation by public men of the question of a presidential third term. Senator Depew broached the suggestion of a renomination of Mr. McKinley, and it was promptly endorsed by Senator Quay and others. The anti-third term tradition was characterized by these gentlemen as a superstition and foolish anachronism. The fear of Caesarism was declared to be senseless. If a man serves the people faithfully and well for eight years, why, it was asked, should he not be reëlected for a third term? Is it “practical '' and businesslike to set aside a tried and approved guide for an experiment? As for Washington, it was intimated that in declin
ing a third term he made a virtue of a necessity; he knew that he could not be elected again, in other words, and preferred to lay down the reins of power without loss of prestige. Much more of this sort of thing was said The press,
by the third-term champions. however, almost without exception, and irrespective of party affiliation, vigorously, almost vehemently, repudiated the idea. The arguments con were as various as the minds from which they proceeded. That there was danger of Caesarism in three successive terms was admitted, but equally grave, if not more insidious dangers were pointed out. If three terms, why not four, five, even life tenure? What would the American people think of a party which virtually admitted that it had but one man fit and trustworthy enough to be made president? As a matter of fact, thoughtful Americans have been considering the expediency of a constitutional amendment limiting a president to a single term of six years. Ex-President Cleveland and Senator Hanna have endorsed this suggestion, and it is understood that the National Civic Federation has recently made it the subject of a “referendum ” to hundreds of eminent Americans. Our scale of expenditures, the growth of patronage and offices, and the increasing importance of the executive branch of the federal government seem to many to render an amendment of the nature indicated not only advisable, but necessary to the preservation of the independence of congress and the delicate system of “checks and balances” which the constitution established. There has been no “usurpation,” but the steady and irresistible growth of executive influence is not to be denied. In this tendency there is serious evil, which only the superficial fail to discern. President McKinley has taken the question out of the category of “practical politics” by announcing in a direct and unequivocal statement to the people that he would not, under any circumstances, accept another nomination and that the third-term proposi
THE LATE ROBERT W. BUCHANAN, English Poet, Playwright, and Novelist.