Puslapio vaizdai

accounting of interest on the city's money placed in the banks by the treasurer. For years it has been the custom of the city treasurers to deposit the city funds in banks and to retain the interest received thereon as a personal perquisite. The interest for a dozen years past has amounted to between $50,000 and $75,000 per year.

The law which makes it a misdemeanor for any child "actually or apparently under sixteen years of age to smoke, or in any way use any cigar, cigarette, or tobacco in any form whatsoever, in any public street or place," went into effect in New York on Sept. 1st. On Sept. 3d, two boys were arrested in New York City for smoking cigarettes, and brought before a police justice. They were reprimanded and discharged.

Although the aldermen draw their salaries with great regularity during the summer, it sometimes seems as if they did little besides that. Three weeks or so ago the United States Court ordered the aldermen to draw jurors for the coming term of the court. A special meeting was called, but there was no quorum when the hour assigued for the meeting came. Another special meeting was called for the same purpose for last Tuesday; again there was no quorum. Another call was issued for a meeting to-day at noon. At the hour named there were just six aldermen present Wil. son, Folsom, Carruth, Leary, Woolley, and Gove. It looked as if the third call would meet with the same results as the other two, for seven men were needed for the quorum. A few minutes after twelve o'clock, however, Alderman Flood strolled in. The Board was then called to order, and the business of the day finished in just three minutes.


- Boston Transcript, Sept. 4.

The habit of estimating men in Congress by the value of their service to special interests is spreading. Of course, the root of it all is in the tariff; but the pensions bills have created a close rivalry. Then there was the silver interest. After that things began to be more minute, if not more specific, and legislating for the butter interest as against leomargarine had to be the test. Latest of all we have this Lard Bill, which has just made so much trouble. -Boston Herald.

A newly appointed New York police justice has declared his intention to act upon the rule that "drunkenness is a crime and must be exterminated."

According to statistics, only twenty children under the age at which they are required to be at school by the law are at present employed in Berlin factories, and even there are receiving three hours' tuition a day.

The Spanish Prime Minister has declared in favor of a social policy similar to that of the German Emperor. He thinks that free trade is responsible for the degraded condition of labor, and recommends a policy of protection in the interest of farmers and manufacturers.

The Lord's Committee on the London County Council's Bill have ordained that henceforth no building within the jurisdiction of the London County Council shall exceed ninety feet in height.

The German Emperor has given directions that all children employed in State factories in his dominious shall be medically examined. If any of them are found to be in need of change of air, they are to be sent for a fortnight to the shores of the North Sea, and the expenses are to be defrayed by the govern


A Nottingham (England) paper prints the following item on letter-carrying in Paris:"It was, some time ago, the custom to impose a charge of twenty-five centimes on all letters posted in the boxes after six in the evening. A speculative individual, who had listened to some of the groans accompanying payment of this exaction, undertook to carry all such letters to their destination for fifteen centimes, and, as even the saving of a penny is something to men who write many letters on Bourse business, he found himself trusted, and reaping a fair income. He organized a corps of bicyclists, who delivered the letters with honesty and promptitude. This compelled the post-office to come down to fifteen centimes also, and now the enterprising competitor has reduced his tariff per letter to five centimes. The government, it is said, is displeased at the keenness of the competition, and threatens a prosecution."

Frank Morrison, in the Boston Herald, compares the Boston system of city government with the system of concentration of

power, or the business system adopted in other cities, and shows the former to be the most expensive, inefficient, and complicated in the United States. In 1888 the population of Brooklyn was a little less than double that of Boston. Brooklyn that year raised by taxation $11,413,478, while Boston's tax for 1888-89 was $10,633,107, or Brooklyn's tax was larger by $779,371, only a trifle over seven per cent. Asking why a city twice the size of Boston only needs to raise seven per cent more taxes, Mr. Morrison shows that the simple business methods of Brooklyn's executive departments fully account for her superior economy. In Boston the executive departments are placed on a political basis, which accounts for the expense and inefficiency of the results.

[ocr errors]


Massachusetts has a Sunday law, but it is generally allowed to rest undisturbed on the statute-book. There is an occasional attempt, however, to let the people know that there is a law which forbids the carrying on of business on the "Lord's Day," and which does not permit of human beings enjoying themselves beyond a fixed religious limit. It is right and proper in the eyes of Massachusetts piety to enjoy sermons and prayers on this day, but to indulge in any natural or healthful pleasure is looked upon as an unhallowed license, and a proceeding which should be summarily dealt with.

There is no better place to observe the ridiculousness of Sunday virtue than at some seaside resort. The officers of the law to whom is intrusted the duty of enforcing the statute which prohibits unnecessary labor upon Sunday, the buying and selling of goods, games, etc., etc., do not make the law formidable to the larger criminals, only to the poor little fellows who cannot make any show of defence A man is allowed to sell fried lobster and clam-chowder, but prohibited from selling peanuts and corn-bars. A person who sets up a lemonade stand on the beacì. is ordered to close up his business and "keep the Sabbath holy"; while another person is permitted to sell whiskey and beer to the thirsty without rebuke. The railroads carry people without protest, but the flying horses are not allowed to carry the children on their backs. The steamboats go loaded,

but the toboggan slide is made to stand empty from morning till night. Even the babies are not allowed to buy pails and shovels on the "Lord's Day" at the beaches. This is called enforcing the Sunday law.

Such an effect as is produced by stopping a few poor people from making a dollar or two on the Sabbath, by peddling candy and nuts, or by letting swings and merry-gorounds, and permitting corporations to run trains and steamboats, and hotels to keep open bars, will not deepen respect for law or religion. Boston Investigator.




Every Monday morning in the town of Hull, the solicitors turn up half an hour later than usual at the borough police court; the representatives of the Press give themselves half an hour's grace in addition to their customary unpunctuality; and the witnesses spend half an hour longer than usual over their pint-pots round the corner. You see it would be such utter waste of time to sit in court sucking one's thumbs while the "Lord's Day cases are taken. Nobody cares about them, - nobody, not even the victims. Even the "drunk and disorderly "— that oft-repeated customer occasionally affords something that is interesting, or something that is ludicrous; but the Lord's Day case, never. Everything is cut and dried; the same old process Monday after Monday. The stipendiary takes his seat, the chief constable makes his bow if even he is there so clearly

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


the court is silenced, and P. C. Smith, C 21, steps in the box and takes the oath. "Are you sworn, constable?" "Yes, your w'ship."

"What is it?"

[blocks in formation]

Forty respectable-looking tradesmen who have hitherto lived in peace and quietness, and in harmony with the world in general, have broken that celebrated law of his late Majesty Charles II. of pious memory, known as the Lord's Day Act. They are summoned, fined, and go back and keep open next Sunday as before. They find they can an make it pay them to keep their shops open on a Sunday and pay the fine. It amounts to a regular license, payable weekly. The learned stipendiary, than whom no man is more respected in his own sphere, and no man more admired for clearness of judgment, probably has his opinions, but he is there to administer, not to criticise the law, and Charles II. remains triumphant still.

And so, as I say, if business or blue paper should summon you to the borough police court of the town and county of Kingstonupon-Hull on any Monday morning, you may take half an hour's grace after the court has opened, whilst the machine works round as usual. The police find it an easy job; the the defendants have become used to it and don't' complain; the court receives a regular weekly revenue, and that is all. Nobody feels the worse; nobody knows, nobody cares. Do they? Do they? - John Cowen, in Free. Life.

The high opinion I expressed some time ago of the perspicacity of Mr. Clarkson, assistant postmaster-general of the United States, has been amply justified by his conduct. At that time Mr. Clarkson was suffering under the ill-deserved abuse of the Democratic press all over the country, and partly too, I believe, of the Republican press. Nothing could be more irrational. He had then delivered an address in which he asserted, and produced some evidence in corroboration of the statement, that POLITICS were not adapted to being controlled by business methods The attempt to introduce business into POLITICS, said Mr. Clarkson, by means of the so-called civil-service reform, was a complete failure where it did not work positive injury. The implication is so plain, and, if it were not plain, the fact is so clearly established, that the introduction of POLITICS and political methods into business produces equal or greater injuries to business, that I assumed at once that Mr. Clarkson recog

nized this fact, as well as the converse to which he drew special attention. It seems that my assumption was correct. For Mr. Clarkson, feeling himself adapted rather to POLITICS than to business, and business methods, has resigned his pseudo-political position of postmaster, preferring, no doubt, absolute seclusion to false appearances. The post-office, as he has probably discovered, is a business, and should be a private business; while he is a politician; therefore he resigns. Would that the same might be hoped of his successors! But this is far too sanguine, for few men are so honest with themselves. They will prefer to hang on to the post-office for something political to "turn up." would not be the first time that a postmaster graduated into politics. When the Secretary of War Floyd resigned, in 1861, to go with his State out of the Union, the then postmaster-general, Joseph Holt, of Kentucky, was appointed to succeed him. This is about as incongruous a transformation, though not quite so ludicrous, as the present condition of having a censorship of the press attached to the postmaster's office.


Elsewhere in this paper we give the petition to Congress, presented by the Women's League, which contains one very interesting statement. This is to the effect that parents in Pennsylvania and New York, and in the New England States, resort to altering the entries in the family Bibles in order to get their children to work" earlier than the law permits." This statement may seem to require confirmation, · - may appear, in fact, rather figurative, if not exaggerated. But I have no doubt it is strictly true. Who, indeed, is to determine the age of a child sent to work in a factory? If a child applies to an employer for work, what considerations are expected to weigh with the latter? Evidently, by those who are responsible for the placing of the factory laws on our statute-books, the fear of the law is expected to be the controlling element in the employer's determination whether or not he will employ a certain child. Well, then, if this is the consideration expected to weigh, if this is the motive intended to act, what will happen when the law is easily evaded? Of course, we know that all laws are evaded with tolerable ease, and we discount that in advance. Every one knows

that; and one who denies it will not reward the effort of arguing with. But some laws are more easily evaded than others: for instance, there is the Massachusetts Sedentary Law. You have heard of that? To have heard of it and to have seen it in operation, however, are very different things. The same may be said of the Prohibition Law in Maine. The operation of that law in Bangor may serve for illustration. How the signs of sobriety are maintained during the winter I do not know, but of æstival prohibition in Bangor I can speak with confidence. Along the streets of Bangor, the entrance to the place where red-nosed Silenus presides, and dispenses much adulterated beverages, is barricaded with fruit-stalls, displaying peaches and melons, mostly in a very sorry state of preservation. Sales are not rapid here. One whose sense of smell is not too sensitive to the mingled aroma of stale tobacco, rotten fruit, and wormwood whiskey will find, on crossing the threshold, that the inner chamber is still further screened and its use disguised by the interposition of a cigar divan. No Hebes are needed here. Fruit and tobacco do not sell well in Bangor. But que voulez-vous! The police must be furnished with something to see in order not to see. In the rear is the temple of - Prohibition. So, employers must be furnished with something to see, or, at any rate, to show, and why not a family Bible,” that has been in the family, say, ten minutes, on the morning the case comes up for trial? That is on the assumption that a case ever comes to trial.


[ocr errors]

- one

This picture is not very attractive. How much worse the alternative! Suppose that records are not altered, suppose that the reason why cases do not come to trial is that the law is not violated, that the law is really effective for preventing hungry children from finding work? If we are somewhat depressed by the consideration of the futility of the attempts to reform the world legislatively, does the alternative prove very diverting? I fear not. I fear that we have in these factory regulations a case where all good citizens should do their utmost to encourage disregard and evasion of the law. In the case of prohibition, no one will need to exert himself in favor of others; evasion may safely be left to the bibulous. But in the case of a law which threatens children with discomfort,

did I say discomfort? - in the case of a law which threatens children with starvation, disease, and pestilence, yes, and though the law threatened to produce but a single pang of undeserved hunger, there can be no doubt which way effort should be exerted. The law should be annihilated, be it by repeal or circumvention. An unrighteous law has no binding force. And there really is not room for serious doubt that interference with parental rights and restrictions of liberty to find food is unrighteous, whether called law or tyranny.

[ocr errors]

In regard to the evasion of law, there is not as a general thing much occasion for extraordinary exertion in those cases where the law is merely one of the many dead horses of Socialism. In London, houses are being built too high, much too high. The proper way to do when you want more room is, not to add another story to the house but to get some more land and expand laterally. If land happens to cost twenty guineas a foot, no matter; buy some and build a wing to your house. Besides, you can move into the country. Location is merely a prejudice or a fashion; and so is the notion that high air is less impregnated with the filth of the city. Build an addition or move out into the country. If business is your object, never mind, it will follow slowly, perhaps, say in a century or two,but what of that! Hunian beings have understood this principle of conduct for a long while, and now the Lords' committee on the London Council Bill has discovered it.

[ocr errors]

Stanley relates that Emin discovered, somewhere in Central Africa near Equatoria, a tribe of Chimpanzees who bear torches in their hands at night to light them in their nocturnal depredations on the crops of their colored brothers; and I have discovered the Lords' committee; so we are all discoverers. These Chimp - I mean councilmen have decided that ninety feet is about the right height for a house in London, and so they have ordered that none shall be built higher. I have not been able to find out whether the height of each ceiling has been prescribed; but if not, we might look to see some very low ceilings in London - if it were not really cheaper to buy the inspectors. I am afraid there will be some cellars in London deeper than even London cellars are now. Ninety feet above ground — and a hundred below!

Here again, however, evasion is the least evil; for a restriction that really restricted would add to the cost of living, either directly or indirectly. In the case of lodging property, the increased cost of living would act directly; for if the cost of tenements is increased, so is the rent of lodgings. In the case of business property, the cost either of production or of distribution will be increased by the raised rent of premises. And some of this increase will show itself in the cost of the workman's and widow's bread. When hard lives have been made hard beyond endurance, what have we then? Oh, nothing! a strike, penury, pawnbrokers, paupers, starvation, police, crime, prisons, riot, highway robbery, and more regulation, - prostitution, parliament, and finally, town councilmen again, where we began, shaking their addled brains as they gird their fat paunches and gaze up with troubled eyes at buildings a hundred and twenty feet high.

[ocr errors]

Encouraged by the favorable reception accorded by the people to the proposition to establish a new board of appraisers of customs and to various other increases of bureaucratic officialism, a motion has now been made in Congress to establish a board of official investigators of the tariff. This is one of the most audacious schemes that has yet been broached. In the first place, the supposition that impartial students could possibly be appointed is absurd; in the second place, the supposition that men of sufficient ability could be got to investigate the subject. by any political method is equally absurd; in the third place, this attempt to shift legislative duties on to administrative shoulders is the boldest dash toward centralization that has been made for some time. What were these present Congressmen elected for, I should like to know, if not to "investigate " the tariff? Yet, here is one of them, at least, who wants to shift the task on to the President, by giving him the duty of appointing official "investigators." After all, the proposal is more pathetic than absurd. With a deep sense of his own unfitness, the author of this new conception proposes to pay the investigators $7,000 each-just half as much again as he himself is paid for the same work. His name is Plumb, - Senator Plumb, if you please, from Kansas.


EAU CLAIRE, Wis., Aug. 13, 1890. EDITOR, TO-DAY:

You mis pprehend me I am not annoyed, but highly gratified that you and so many others are talking Anarchy-Jourdain fashion. I only suggested that talking it intelligently is better still, -saves you from "bad breaks," a plenty of which may be formed in your remarks on my previous letter, e. g. I did not say that communism would result from Anarchy (alone). I did say that Communism ought to result from over-production, which is the explanation the bourgeois give of illness and misery. If there be a class for whose interest the world has grown too rich, a class which exists only by creating poverty, a class whose idea is that others must be forbidden to work lest it should be forced to, then, great as the appetite of the modern world for moonshine is, I fear the world is not stupid enough to be long in finding out that it has no use for such a class.

As concerns saving, you say to become rich a nation must produce more than it consumes; that is, must save a part of what it produces; and you ask, triumphantly, where is the fallacy? In another place you say, "probably few individuals and no nations produce as much as they could produce if their desires were greater." Here you give yourself away, which, according to the sacred poet, is all that you can do. The fallacy you inquire for consists in attributing to abstinence, or saving, what is due to invention. Without some invention it is simply impossible to accumulate. Even the dog which hides a bone exercises ingenuity; and so does the usurer who finds a safe investment. They exercise abstinence also. But nations get rich in no such ways as that: their wealth is accumulated by a kind of invention with which abstinence, or saving, has nothing to do except to hinder it. Luxuriousness — the desire of each for things which he has no means of producing-makes each produce a surplus to exchange. Hence arise stocks in transitu, and apparatus for facilitating production and transportation. The wealth of a nation consists in these things. The miser who gets rich by refusing to buy the goods of those who buy his goods is not "an unconscious benefactor," but a parasite. If we were all like him we should all be miserably poor; we are all, himself included, the poorer for his saving, and that in two ways: First, he discourages industry by not buying its products. Then his hoarded wealth would be as much lost as if it were thrown into the sea had not others been so foolish as to sell him monopoly privileges, which operate as liens upon their future labor. To protect these privileges, governments are instituted among men, deriving their unjust powers from the consent of the boobies who think they can all acquire similar monopoly privileges, though their very essence is to take from one whatever goes to another. The trouble with the orthodox economy is that it generalizes from the narrow experience of the capitalist or usurer, instead

« AnkstesnisTęsti »