Page images
[ocr errors]

orchard the loading of the dray in front of As for Theophilus, he was quiet again, Katy's door, and when he saw that Mrs. only looking with burning eyes at the Murphy was climbing up, to sit on top of little figure on the wagon, until a turn in her stove and feather bed, and the chil- the road carried it out of sight. dren were standing about, ready to be Then he went home. Miss Hannah did packed in beside her, he went to the not tell the Judge of this disobedience, wash-house door, and called in to his but she reproached Theophilus in her aunt that he was “ going to say good-by agitated, flurried way. to Katy." He did not wait for her horri- Now, my dear little boy, you mustfied protest, but ran, white and panting, you mustn't-you know brother wouldn't down through the orchard and across the —now you will remember, won't you, road. Mrs. Murphy screamed when she Theophilus?" saw him, and poor swollen - eyed Katy Theophilus nodded, silently. He was hardly dared look at him, after her first perfectly apathetic. As the days went on glance. The men who were loading the he made no complaint of loneliness. He wagon stopped and laughed—but Theoph- seemed to be just a silent, biddable child. ilus was blind to all but Katy.

He fetched and carried for Miss Hannah, The child had been pulled up to sit be- and took the tonic Willie King had orderside her mother, and looking down at him, ed, and learned his lessons, and never went said, trembling, “Good-by, Theophilus." down to Shantytown for play-fellows; but

"Shut your mouth,” said her mother, he turned away his head whenever his beginning to cry. “The darlin' boy; he's uncle spoke to him. If he was asked a that white

question, he answered briefly; but it was “Katy,” said Theophilus, in a low impossible not to see the shrinking and voice, as soon as I'm a man, I'm coming fear and hatred on the little mild face. for you."

He used to try to play, at first. He said "All right, Theophilus," said Katy. every day to himself that to-morrow he “You won't forget we're married?” would make ink out of pokeberries. He "Oh no, Theophilus," murmured Katy. had a fancy for pretending to be an earth

“Oh, Katy, don't, don't, don't go and worm burrowing through miles of clay leave me!” he burst out.

and rock, represented by the hay in the loft. "There, now, dear," said Mrs. Murphy, But interest flagged, and he came back "don't be takin' on." The big, motherly and sat listlessly by the fire in the washwoman had a sudden impulse to pick him house, while Miss Hannah's anxieties up and pack him with her brood among about him rippled on with mild incoherher pots and pans and feather beds. The ence which never needed a reply. Somelittle boy did not seem to hear her. times after tea, when he had been stolidly

"Katy," he said, in a low voice, and unresponsive, the Judge would go back to looked up at her. Then, suddenly, he his library with a pang which he supposed burst into tears, ran madly at the wagon, to be anger, and he would tell himself that and tried to climb up over the big wheels. Theophilus was as ungrateful as every“I'm going too; I'm going too--" he body else. sobbed. Take me with you, Katy!" “I would make something of him," he He clung to the wheels, and the men, used to tell himself. “ He has brains; he laughing, pulled him back.

would be a credit to me." And then he Mrs. Murphy, from her perch on the would think to himself, bitterly, how unfeather bed, laughed too. "Ain't he com- just it all was. “I never cared for a huical ?" said Mrs. Murphy. “Well, there; man creature before,” he said, not knowbless him! Say, now, darlin', go home. ing that this was his own sentence; "and I'll be keepin' your wife for you-" I'm a fool to care now!” he added. “Well,

The wagon started, and Mrs. Murphy he's not worth it. Willie King is an forgot Theophilus, and began to weep for idiot.” In his rage and anxiety he was her own hearth-stone from which she had almost as incoherent as Miss Hannah. been so cruelly torn away. Then she Indeed, he made no concealment of his smacked the child whose fault it was, feeling for the boy; he was harshly and which made Katy weep also, and the openly anxious about him. He scolded wailing chorus rose above the good-byes Miss Hannah because he was pale, and was of the neighbors, who stood about watch- imperiousin hisorders that the child should ing the flitting

have this or that comfort, for which, indeed, with anguished reluctance, he once fingering it, and looking at it with a gleam or twice gave her some money. Over of interest. “Does it cost much to take and over he tried to make Theophilus a journey, aunt?” he said. And then he talk. He was eager for a friendly look said, with a little animation in his face, or word, but none came. The child never “I guess I'll save up." · And he even forgot. Once it came to the Judge as an went so far as to put his half-dime into inspiration that Theophilus had not for. an empty cigar-box, which he said should given him for taking his pipe, and eager be his bank. “When that's full I'll have ly he called the boy into his library. enough," he said. But by-and-by he

" Theophilus,” he said, “I have some- seemed to forget it. thing of yours; I'm going to give it back As the winter passed he grew whiter to you, only you are not to smoke, young and stiller. The Judge was bitter to all man!” He ended with an effort to be the world; Miss Hannah had a bad time jocose, that made the little boy look at of it, but Willie King had a worse. him wonderingly; but he would not take “What are you good for, anyhow?" the pipe.

the Judge used to say, sneering and "I don't want it now," he said, briefly, frightened and angry all together. and went back to sit with Miss Hannah, “What do you suppose I pay you for?" leaving his head against her knee, and It appeared that Willie wasn't good for trying languidly to study his spelling anything. "Some spring has been cut," lesson. “I don't like spelling,” he said. he said ; "the boy doesn't care for any. " There isn't any' because' in just stick- thing." Afterwards he said the child had ing in letters." This was apropos of no constitution, anyhow. "dough” and “doe,” which had present- At the end the Judge was with the lited difficulties that had moved Theophilus tle boy day and night, and perhaps the to tears. “Katy could spell just as easy,” old man's harsh misery softened the he said. And that was his only reference child. The last day, when from morning to his little tragedy; but it meant that he until morning the Judge had sat on the did not forget.

bed (it was his own, into which Theophilus Shortly after the rebuff of the pipe the had been put), the child looked at him Judge made still another effort. “Here, once or twice, with a glimmer of interest young man!” he said; “is a present for in his face. you. Come! what do you say? Don't “Uncle," he said. forget your manners." He snapped a half- The Judge took his hand, and held it, dime down on the table by Theophilus's opening and shutting his lips, and trying plate with a little chuckle of generosity. to speak.

"Thank you," said Theophilus, listless- “Uncle, I-won't--I won't-tell God," ly. He slipped the coin into his pocket, he said. but afterwards Miss Hannah saw him And then he turned his face to the wall.



W been,

E passed heart-weary from the troubled house,

A jar of tongues upon a petty scene;
And now, as from a long and tortured drouse,
The dark returned us to our purer vows-

The open darkness like a friendly palm;

And the great night was round us with her calm :
We felt the large free wind upon our brows,
And suddenly above us saw revealed
The holy round of heaven-all its rime

Of suns and planets and its nebulous rust-
Sable and glittering like a mythic shield,
Sown with the gold of giants and of time,

The worlds and all their systems but as dust.



THE change in the fiscal system of eight per cent., and under this rate the

apart from the exigencies of the present before 1870 was attained in 1866—$177,war and the possible modification of our 056,523. foreign policy following thereupon, has On three occasions in our history has not come suddenly. It has been foreseen the tariff been supplemented by internal and accurately predicted by those who taxes. The excise duties on spirits and have had the advantage of comparing our tobacco constituted an important feature system with the systems of other coun- in Hamilton's scheme of national finance, tries. A brief reference to what has point- and established a precedent for future coned to the change will permit a clearer duct. Abolished under Jefferson, it was statement of what the change implies. restored when the war of 1812 made heavy

The tariff has, since the foundation of drafts on the Treasury; but it continued the government, been the leading feature in force only a few years. In no single in the national finances. Originally year did the direct and internal taxes sought and framed as a revenue mea- yield as much revenue as was obtained sure, when the Revolution had just from customs ; and in only two years ended, and a loosely united confederation from 1791 to 1864 did the government reof independent States threatened ruin, ceive from any source other than the its fiscal strength has for a century been customs a sum appreciably adding to its maintained, with a constant tendency to income. The curious fever of speculation bring into greater prominence its political in public lands did produce notable returns element of encouraging domestic indus- in 1836 and 1837, and in the latter year tries by restricting imports and foreign gave even more than the customs—a recompetition. Among the many changes markable instance of financial folly. To in rates and administrative features made 1864, then, the tariff was regarded as the since the first tariff the protective idea great national fiscal instrument. has been held in view, receiving an occa- During the war internal duties were sional check only to be restored in greater imposed on every possible form of busivigor. Hamilton believed that an aver- ness activity. It is doubtful if even in age duty of one-tenth of the value of the the Middle Ages, when the line between imported merchandise would assure reve. tribute and taxation was hardly defined, nue and yet afford a reasonable encour- any more searching and universal scheme agement to home manufacturers. The had been imposed and patiently endured. consequences of the war of 1812, whetting Every species of manufacture, trade, prothe demands of domestic industries, more fession, and occupation was touched; the than doubled this rate, and the adherence incomes of individuals, firms, associations, to a tariff as the one great source of na- and corporations were taxed; all legal intional revenue led to a further increase struments, ordinary receipts, and commerbefore 1860, bringing the average on du- cial paper were made subject to stamp dutiable imports to one-fourth, or twenty- ties; legacies and successions, gross receipts five per cent. ad valorem.

of railroads, ferries, canals, shipping, exThe civil war, by imposing the neces- press, insurance, and telegraph companies, sity of meeting an extraordinary expen- paid their stated share to the government; diture beyond all experience, led to a gen- and, in strong contrast, lotteries, theatres, eral resort to taxation, in which the tariff operas, and museums were assessed with could not escape an increase. The free banks, trust companies, and savings-banks. imports were practically wiped out, for In addition to all this, licenses were rethey were reduced to an insignificant quired from more than fifty occupations. amount, and rates were raised or imposed To find in any other country the counwith little regard to their general effect. terpart of such a minute and detailed By taxing all imports and by adjusting scheme of duties would defy the efforts rates to a war basis the rate of duty col- of the historian. lected reached the high average of forty- At a time when the economy of the country was thrown into a fever by the was as evident. Not only did they yield altered conditions of production and by three - fifths of the entire revenue, but the remarkable financial experiments in they notoriously involved heavy duplicacident to war, the people paid taxes royal- tion of duties, as well as many petty and ly and willingly. In 1863 the internal vexatious features attending their collecrevenue gave $37,640,788; and in 1866, the tion. In the exultation of having attainlast year of the full operation of internal ed a return from all sources seven times war taxes, $309, 226,813, or nearly $90,- greater than had been reached in any 000,000 more than was ever collected from year before the war, the detail of reduccustoms in a single year. But the amount tion, of retaining certain features for a of revenue was only an incident when more judicious and scientific system, was compared with the social changes that not considered seriously. The excessive followed, due to the sudden imposition of customs duties had stimulated domestic the duties, and the constant modification industries, and these industries claimed they underwent when Congress sought to vested rights and demanded the mainreduce them to a system embodying a cer- tenance of a war tariff. Thus politics tain equality of burden. However light stepped in, and under its dictation interthe taxes might be-even the penny stamp nal taxes were rapidly reduced, till spirits, counted-an element of uncertainty, of malt liquors, and tobacco were the only novelty, was introduced, and at once spec- leading sources of internal revenue. ulation entered into the estimation of busi- Even the sweeping away of hundreds ness operations. This spirit was aggra- of excise taxes did not reduce the revenue vated by an even more fertile source of to a point that common prudence required. disturbance, a depreciated paper currency. The wonderful success in meeting the great The merchant or operator not only counted debt contracted by the war, and under taxthe duties and imposts as necessary evils, ation that could not be regarded as danbut his ingenuity was aroused to evade gerously onerous, set an example to the them as far as was possible.“ Tax moral- world—not to be imitated, for it was reckity" became a distinct and often humor- lessly done, but to be admired as an evious entity, though even now undescribed dence of the exuberant fiscal possibilities in any system of ethics. Large as the of the nation. In spite of the repeal of receipts were, they never came up to the taxes yielding hundreds of millions a expectations of the framers of the mea- year, there was still a handsome surplus sures, and both officials and economists to be applied to debt reduction, and to enlent their best efforts to devise means of courage generous appropriations and an closing the ever-widening gap between extravagance in public expenditure that promise and performance. As soon as threatened to debauch, and did debauch, the war was ended, repeal of internal public morality. A review of the finanduties was the rule.

cial operations of the ten years from 1880 Strange to say, this repeal of duties be- to 1890 will produce a feeling of amazecame an even more complicated task than ment at the resources placed at the disthe first imposition and subsequent oper- position of the Treasury, and a sense of ations. It was certain that the rates and alarm at the manner of disposing of kinds of duties had in the first instance those resources. The average annual inbeen tentative, of unknown effect, and of come in the first half of the period was uncertain operation. Everything believed $366,960,000, and the expenditure $257,to be tangible to a tax was made subject 470,000, leaving an annual surplus of to a duty. When the time came to alter $109,490,000. In the second half the avthis jumble, as yet not fully tested, and erage annual revenue was $375,460,000, worthy of a careful study if only for and the expenditure $269,950,000, giving future reference, the changes were dic- a surplus of $105,510,000. tated not by purely financial reasons, but Such an extraordinary taking in taxes by a mixture of political and financial of a sum far in excess of the needs of the reasons, in which the political tended to government constituted in itself a finanbecome dominant. That the government cial evil. The debt service had already would not require in revenue $520,000,000 received a sum much larger than the a year -- the amount obtained in 1866– terms of the sinking-fund required, and was evident. That the internal taxes yet the surplus revenue could only be should be first reduced and readjusted applied to further debt reductions, or be

hoarded in the Treasury to the derange. If revenue was to be reduced, it was inment of the money markets, or be direct. ternal duties that were first to be repealed, ed into new expenditures under the con- or purely revenue import duties, such as trol of Congress. But the revenue might those on tea and coffee. If still further be reduced. To reduce the debt at the reduction was to be bad, and the internal rate of $100,000,000 a year would destroy revenue offered no more objects to be a very important class of investments, and freed from taxes, it was the purely revundermine a good bank - note system so enue duties of the tariff that were to be rapidly as to produce great uncertainty wiped out. When the process had been and heavy losses. The second plan would carried too far, and a deficit in revenue soon have involved an intolerable situa- was to be met, it was the tariff that should tion, giving the Treasury overwhelming afford the increase-in the one case by a influence in the market, and offering reduction in protective duties and the ingreat temptations of interference, with clusion of a revenue duty (the law of 1894); the risks of scandalous abuse of the pow- in the other, by the aggravation of protecer. Congress, though urged to reduce tive duties to more heavily tax in appearthe revenue, saw

reater profit, local and ance the dutiable imports, and so produce personal, in enlarged expenditures, and on paper a higher revenue return. From in 1888 the upward move was initiated in a fiscal instrument with incidental protecearnest. For eight years, from 1881 to tion to industry the tariff has become an 1888, the expenditures had averaged $257,- instrument of protection with incidental 180,000 a year, not falling below $242,- revenue. The war tariff collected 48 000,000 or rising above $268,000,000 in any cents on every dollar of imported meryear. The amount expended in 1889 was chandise subject to duty, but it was im$281,996,616, and in 1890 it was $297,736,- posed on more than four-fifths of the to487 an increase of $38,000,000 in two tal imports. The tariff of 1897 was framed years, with revenue rising by an almost to collect 51 cents on every dollar of dutiequal amount ($37,000,000) in the same able imports, and falls upon one-half of time.

the total imports. The range of duties Then Congress took hold of the prob- has been restricted and the rates in· lem of reduction, and by the McKinley creased, leading to a concentration of bill, which took out the one great rev- very high duties, primarily protective, enue-producing item in the customs-the upon manufactured goods, from which a sugar duty-and was accompanied by an good part of customs revenue has heretoextraordinary increase in expenditures fore been obtained. It is not surprising producing no return, not only wiped out to find that the law of 1897 is proving a the surplus revenue, but created a deficit. disappointment from the revenue side. An overflowing Treasury, having diffi- This is not a question of protection or culty in making use, proper or improper, free trade, for it is only from the revenue of its resources, in two years faced a stand-point that I shall regard it. No one deficit, with revenue seriously impaired, who has carefully studied the movement and saddled with heavy and increasing of the foreign commerce of the United expenditures. It is not necessary to name States can fail to have been impressed by in detail the course of events; an average the notable decay in the revenue features for the period of 1891 to 1897 will tell the of imports. By gradually concentrating story in all eloquence. The average in- and increasing duties upon foreign manucome was $345,590,000, and the average factures the true sources of revenue have expenditure $360,790,000, leaving the Trea- been more clearly defined. Among the sury on the wrong side by more than thousands of duties imposed by the tariff $15,000,000 a year. Since 1893 two attempts schedules, hardly a dozen contribute an have been made to remedy this deficit. appreciable sum to the Treasury. In only The tariff law of 1894, moderate as was a single instance have these few items its changes from the tariff of 1890, gave shown an ability to hold their importance promise of relief, that was cut short by as objects of revenue. The explanation the law of 1897, the most extreme measure is simple. The development of domestic of protection ever passed by Congress. production and manufacture has made

This résumé of recent financial experi- foreign supplies less necessary, and the ence is necessary to ing into promi- general tendency has been to restrict imnence the prevailing current of action. portations to such articles as cannot be

« PreviousContinue »