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When we remember that the primitive political assembly is essentially a war council, formed of leaders who debate in presence of their followers, and when we remember that in early stages all free adult males, being warriors, are called on to join in defensive or offensive actions, we see that, originally, the attendance of the armed freemen is in pursuance of the military service to which they are bound, and that such power as, when thus assembled, they exercise, is incidental.
Later stages yield clear proofs that this is the normal order; for it recurs where, after a political dissolution, political organization begins de novo. Instance the Italian cities, in which, as we have seen, the original "parliaments," summoned for defence by the tocsin, included all the men capable of bearing arms; the obligation to fight coming first, and the right to vote coming second. And, naturally, this duty of attendance survives when the primitive assemblage assumes other functions than those of a militant kind; as witness the before-named fact, that among the Scandinavians it was "disreputable for freemen not to attend" the annual assembly; and the further facts, that in France the obligation to be present at the hundred court in the Merovingian period rested upon all full freemen that in the Carolingian period non attendance is punished by fines," and in England, the lower freemen, as well as others, were "bound to attend the shire moot and hundred moot," and under penalty of "large fines for neglect of duty"; and that in the thirteenth century, in Holland, when the burghers were assembled for public purposes, any one ringing the town bell, except by general consent, and any one not appearing when it tolls, are liable to a fine."
Price 5 Cents.
Devoted to the record of the facts and considerations which show that Individual Liberty is good for the people of the United States: And that, therefore, Legislative Regulation is injurious for them.
"Last Friday night I was unable to be present at the meeting. I see from the RECORD that the first thing that was done last Friday night was to pass forty-five bills by title. The reports were never read in this House, neither last Friday nor at any other time, but they were passed in a lump, without regard to their merits, and within thirty minutes of the time of the meeting there were eleven other bills passed, concerning which the reports were read. That made fifty-six bills passed in thirty minutes; forty-five of them without any sort of consideration at that session or any other session, and the other
eleven with the reports having been read before the House.
"I take the responsibility of saying that a great many of the bills are not considered in the committee; that the gentleman who introduced the bill writes the report, submits it himself; it is never considered by anybody, and it is passed by this House upon the judgment of the man who expects to get the vote of the fellow who gets the pension. . . .
"The gentlemen who are not members of the committee sometimes, I do not know how often, write reports in their cases, because the member on the committee is overworked to such an extent that he cannot write it himself, and he intrusts it to the gentleman who introduced the bill, who writes his own report, gives it to the member of the committee; it is submitted to the committee; it is brought into this House; it is disposed of without being read before the House; it is printed in the RECORD, the bilpassed, and nobody ever considered it except the man who introduced the bill. So I say that is not a safe and proper proceeding in regard to legislation of any character.
"Now, Mr. Speaker, after sixty-four bills had been passed last Friday night in less than thirty minutes, the reading of the reports was demanded, and in the next two hours eighty-seven bills were passed, and the records of all previous Congresses in the history of the United States Government was eclipsed in the passage of private pension bills.
"There has never before been a Friday-night session in the House, in the history of this Government, in which there were one hundred and fifty-one bills passed in two hours and thirty minutes."
"This is under date of Aug. 18th, and is printed in the New York Sun of Aug. 19th:
"The Republicans in the House who have been prevented, during nearly the entire session, by the obstruction tactics from putting through any private pension bills, have taken deep revenge. Under the rules of the House, Friday evening of each week, from 8 until 10.30, is devoted to the consideration of private pension bills favorably reported.
"For many months the farce of meeting every Friday night and accomplishing nothing has been enacted, as Mr. Enloe was always present to demand a quorum, which is generally wanting when nothing more important than the subject of pensions for private soldiers is before the House. This farce has been enacted all during the session, with the result that the calendar is piled high with unconsidered private bills. Mr. Enloe found it necessary to go to Tennessee last week. With the assistance of Representative Perkins, as temporary speaker, the Republicans rushed through about an even hundred bills.'
"He missed it by fifty-one. They passed one hundred and fifty-one bills, and would have remained until midnight and passed another hundred had they not been compelled, by the rules, to adjourn. Tom Reed is very lively with the gavel, but never during his meteoric career as speaker has he dared to rush things as Mr. Perkins did on Friday night. The
Kansas man ignored all forms and customs, paid no attention whatever to the rules of elocution, put the question and announced the result all in one breath, and dropped the gavel so quietly after each announcement that the clerks could hardly read the titles of the bills fast enough to keep up with him. He never cracked a smile during the whole performance until he adjourned the House under compulsion. Then he winked at the chairman of the Pensions Committee and descended from the throne."
On Aug. 27th, the Senate took up the resolution of Senator Plumb instructing the committee on rules to issue an order prohibiting the sale of spirituous, vinous, and malt liquors in the Senate wing of the capitol. The amendment of Senator Butler, directing the sergeant-at-arms to make daily inspection of committee room and other apartments, was rejected. Senator Blair's amendment prohibiting the use of the specified liquors as beverages in the Senate wing was debated, and then the resolution and amendment were, on motion of Senator Sherman, referred to the committee on rules.
On Aug. 27th, no legislation was attempted by the House. The Cannon resolution of the previous day, directing the sergeant-atarms to notify absent members to return to their posts without delay, was objected to by some members, and the debate culminated in a free fight and reciprocal use of indecent and foul language.
The Compound Lard Bill passed the House on Aug. 28th. The bill defines what lard is, and imposes a tax upon the article known as "lard compound." The objects of the bill are stated to be, first, to compel the branding of mixtures as compound lard, and, second, to relieve the manufacturers of pure lard of the unfair competition of an imitation article, made of cheaper ingredients and sold at a lower price.
On Aug. 30th, the House passed the bill amending the Alien Contract law. It was claimed that the Contract law did not cover many cases; there was no requirement that the steamship companies bringing over contract laborers should be compelled to return them. The bill provides for the return of men so imported, at the expense of the steamship companies.
The chief business of the Mississippi Constitutional Convention, now in session at Jackson, is the regulation and restriction of suffrage, with a view to secure the permanent supremacy of the white elements. The colored voters outnumber the whites by about seventy thousand. Of the total voting population of about 209,000, only 96,000 were literates, in 1880. The whites desire to restrict the ignorant and corrupt voting of the colored elements, while unwilling to extend the same restrictions to the illiterate whites. The plan of suffrage agreed upon by the committee on elective franchise embraces the modification of the Australian ballot system, known as the Dortsch law: A residence of two years in the State and one in the voting precinct, the prepayment of a poll tax of $2, and qualified woman suffrage, based upon the possession by her or her husband, if married, of real property to the value of $200. The property qualification of the Dortsch law was not adopted, and an educational qualification is provided for, limited to the ability of the voter to understand the Constitution when it is read to him.
Senator H. B. Kelly, of McPherson, Kan., will introduce into the State Senate a resolution embodying a plan for a conference of Western States, for the purpose of agreeing on concerted action against the East. He is reported in the papers as saying:
"I do not have in view any war upon the East, yet my resolutions, if adopted by all the States, would have the result of concentrating the power of the West and South and directing that power against the East. There is no longer a North and a South. The term has been changed, and it now is an East and West. Most of the things we want the East does not want, and usually what the East wants we can do very well without. I do not mean to say that we would oppose all that the East wants, but by united action we would force the East to give us what we need, or else we would stop the wheels long enough to make that section very uneasy.
"We want our share of appropriations as usually made in the River and Harbor Bill, which, I am free to say, constitute the greater half. We have the productions, the people, and the wealth, if we can only develop it. We desire to reach the markets in such ways as best suit us, and not send our grain and cattle according to the wishes of the buyer. We want three or more deep harbors on the Gulf of Mexico, at each of which we will build great cities. We want no more niggardly appropriations for our
navigable rivers, when enormous sums are expended upon creeks and shallow waters on the Atlantio coast.
"Western people, regardless of party, are a silver-coinage people, and when they make a demand for the white metal they make a demand they believe to be right, and they want it. I believe such a convention as I have proposed would be a unit upon this question. The West is not free trade, nor is the South, but we all have views upon the tariff that are not in harmony with our more Eastern neighbors, and, this being the case, we desire to give the weight of united action to our views. We are not exactly pleased with the apportionment of Representatives in Congress. We do not believe the proportion of 4,000 to 8,000 votes in the East should have greater voice in the halls of Congress than 15,000 to 30,000 votes in the West. We desire more Congressmen, and that, too, without increasing the present membership in the House of Representatives."
The Washington correspondent of the New York World writes that Washington lawyers are discussing the question whether the officers of the District Assembly, No. 246, of the Knights of Labor, are not liable to prosecution under the provisions of the Act entitled "An Act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies." A prominent Senator is reported as saying:
"I believe that by the enforcement of the first section of that act, a great many strikes on railroads and in other fields will be averted. While it was
evidently not the intention of the framers of the law to interfere in any way with the liberties of the laboring classes to strike at will, still the first section, under a strict and literal interpretation, would seem to make it a misdemeanor. There is no doubt that the Knights of Labor could be put either in the category of combinations or conspiracies, and, as for instance, in the New York Central strike, are restraining trade. While the spirit of the law evidently does not aim at strikes, I have no doubt that if a test case be made of it, it would result in the conviction of the men."- New York World, Aug. 23.
According to a rough estimate of the population of Western States given out by the Census Bureau, Missouri has gained, in ten years, 500,000; South Dakota leaps from almost nothing to 340,000; and Minnesota and Nebraska show a phenomenal growth. Iowa, however, situated centrally among these States, has 166,285 less population than it had ten years ago, and 300,000 fewer people than it had five years ago. This falling off is ascribed by Western newspapers to the Prohibition
law, passed five years ago. Times says:
The Kansas City
"Proscription has dealt to Iowa a blow such as neither drought, nor panic, nor devastating storms, nor scarcely war, would have been able to give. Three hundred thousand people have left the State within five years! Two hundred thousand more good citizens, who would, in the natural course of things, have settled in the State during those five years, have passed through it, or have gone around it, or have stopped short of its borders. Missouri and Illinois and Minnesota, or South Dakota and Nebraska, have them. Prohibition has cost the State of Iowa an average-including what she had and lost, and what she would have had without prohibition of more than two thousand population a week during a period of two hundred and sixty weeks! There is a record for the Prohibitionists to contemplate with pride, if they can."
The House Judiciary Committee, in their favorable report of the bill to prohibit aliens from acquiring lands within the United States, called attention to the encroachments of British corporations on the rights of the homestead settler. A noticeable share of the practice of fencing in public lands with. barbed wire, in order to use it for cattle, often to the detriment of adjoining settlers, is attributed to alien owners.
Some time ago, a single company, composed of Scotchmen, called the Prairie Cattle Company, was found to have illegally fenced in one tract containing sixteen square miles, another containing twenty-five, a third containing twenty-five, a fourth containing seventy-five, and a fifth containing one hundred. Eight cases in all were found against that one company in Colorado and Nebraska, and its unauthorized fencings, according to the reports of agents, amounted to over one million acres. American companies are still more largely guilty of these practices.
Six years ago, Land Commissioner McFarland sounded a warning against the waste of the public domain. What with the acquisition of scores of millions of acres by great corporations, either through fraudulent evasions of the laws or open defiance of them, sometimes aided by the complicity of corrupt government officials, and with the imperfect system on which our homestead, pre-emption, desert, and timber laws were originally based, that officer found this result impending:
"The time is near at hand when there will be no public lands to invite settlement or to afford citizens of the country an opportunity to secure cheap homes.
Meanwhile, vast stretches of uncultivated lands are everywhere observable, title to which has been acquired by evasions of law. The numerous methods of disposal now existing, and the laxity of precautionary provisions against misappropriation, are resulting in a waste of the public domain, without the compensation attendant upon small ownerships for actual settlement."
One of his successors reported that "the files of this office groan with the pitiful appeals of settlers to be protected against fraudulent surveys "; while as to depredations upon public timber, he declared them to be "universal, flagrant, and limitless," despoiling "whole ranges of townships covered with pine, the forests at head waters of streams, and timber along the water courses." In California, the entries of redwood in Humboldt County by a company whose stock was mainly subscribed for in Scotland are well remembered. Of course the offending cattle syndicates, corporations, and individuals are oftener American than foreign; but any misuse by the latter of laws that have allowed them to acquire land is notcieable. In some case their agents may have caused titles to be taken by their own employees, who afterward transferred them to the company; in others, the corporations have unlawfully fenced in public lands adjoining their own and guarded them with the shot-guns of their cowboys.
London physicians are clamoring for a law restricting the public performance of hypnotic experiments, now greatly in vogue, on the ground that much injury is done to the health of the amateur investigators of hypnotism. A bill restricting and regulating such performances is to be introduced into parliament.
The dignitaries of the Church of England are indignantly protesting against the precedence which has been accorded Cardinal Manning on Manning on a royal commission. They blame the Prince of Wales for exalting a dignitary of a church which does not enjoy the sanction of the government. The official recognition of Cardinal Manning's position is claimed to threaten the spiritual liberties of England.
The New York State Firemen's Association, in the convention recently held in Watertown, found it necessary to adopt anti
by wholesale, and that they sold their rights. for fifty cents or a glass of beer. A club of thirty colored men sold their votes in a body for $150.
Two Hindoo merchants landed from the steamship "Richmond Hill," on Tuesday, Aug. 26. As they could not speak English, and as no interpreter was at hand, they were arrested on suspicion, by the Contract Labor inspector, and taken to the barge office. They were detained in the immigrant pen all day, charged with being paupers. Then it was found that they were not immigrants at all, and that their detention was illegal. The merchants propose to bring suit against the Government.
A committee of the New York Legislature makes the charge that certain Interference cases pending in the Patent Office, and apparently antagonistic, are really controlled on both sides by the Bell Company, and that a settlement of them has been postponed for years by the great corporation which represents both sides of the apparent controversy, in order that it may be able, when a settlement shall have been reached, to prolong its monopoly for a term of years from the date of that settlement by means of the winning device.
The Iowa Railroad Commissioners have asked the governor to request the attorneygeneral to bring suit against all the Iowa roads which have refused to put in operation the schedule of joint-rates prepared by the commission. The railroad officials question the validity of the joint-rate law under which the commissioners operated in fixing the schedule.
The Treasury Department has just rendered a decision to the effect that articles brought from abroad by citizens of the United States, and intended as presents, are clearly subject to duty under the law.
The authorities of the city of Waterbury (Conn.) are trying to enforce an ordinance forbidding locomotive tooting in the city's limits. A large number of suits have been brought to exact the penalties for disobedience to the ordinance.