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1. Municipal government is business, not politics. 2. Municipal elections should be divorced from State and national politics.
3. Municipal officers should be chosen solely for business ability and personal integrity.
4. Municipal officers should be independent of political parties, halls, bosses, and factions.
5. The care of city property, the management of city franchises, the collection and expenditure of city revenues, the development of systems of rapid transit, and the impartial and vigorous enforcement of labor legislation and of measures for the improvement of the homes of the industrial classes can safely be intrusted only to officers chosen under the operation of these principles.
An effort will be made to close the Louisville (Ky.) pool-rooms under the Gambling law. It is contended that selling pools on horse-races is just as much gambling as setting up Faro, and more vicious, since rich and poor are alike allowed to play. The Louisville pool-rooms practically control poolroom operations all over the country, and in some years the turf exchange has done $6,000,000 worth of business in a season.
The New York Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution stating that the census enumeration fell short of the total population of that city about 200,000, and demanding an official recount. It is charged that there is a conspiracy in the census bureau to deny the city of New York its just representation in Congress, and that Superintendent Porter and his associates have used their power for partisan ends.
A Louisville (Ky.) paper charges that certain contractors have defrauded the city of $13,000, with the connivance of the mayor and city engineer. Up to the present, three hundred and sixty carloads of granite have been delivered, and it is charged that every one of the loads was short weight to the extent of five tons. This robbery has been made possible by the criminal negligence on the part of the city officials, who, it is alleged, knew of the fraud six months ago.
AN EXAMPLE OF ANARCHY. The undesirability of doing away with the restraints of government before the people are sufficiently adapted to the social state to live together in harmony without such restraints is well shown by the following description of a county in eastern Kentucky:
"On last Saturday the first term of court held in Perry County for two years was opened by Judge Lilly. The court-house was burned some time ago, and as no steps have ever been taken towards its rebuilding, the judge was compelled to administer justice in a tent. As his life had been threatened, he did not venture to enter the county until he had secured an escort of several companies of militia.
"Judge Lilly did not mince words in his instructions to the grand jury. I have missed several terms of my court in your county,' he began, and for reasons well
known. I was satisfied that a court could not be held, and, having had my life threatened, had every reason to believe I would be assassinated if I came to Perry.' He told them plainly that the whole question rested with them, whether they wanted a court to bring offenders to justice. Continuing, he said, 'I now turn to a page in the statutes of Kentucky which defines the word “murder,” and the law upon that subject. It seems that the people of Perry do not know that there is such a word. Why, gentlemen, this county is over seventy years old, and but one man in all that time has been convicted for murder, and he for a small term of years in the penitentiary, though five hundred men have been murdered in the county, over three hundred of them in the last twenty years. This is appalling; and I again ask you, do you want justice? The records show you these things. I have called this extra term of court to give you one more opportunity. Now, do your duty. I am frank to say that if this court amounts to nothing, there will be no use of ever again trying to hold court in Perry.'
"Monday was election day, and, of course, Court did not sit. Reports of riots and murders had come in from various precincts when the courier started for civilization on Tuesday. At that time four hundred armed outlaws were camped about the place where court is held, while three companies of militia protected the judge, who sleeps with armed soldiers in his room. He had made his will, and frankly admitted that he hardly expected to get out alive. All food was tested before being eaten, and no man was allowed to enter the town until he had been searched.
"A superintendent of schools was to be elected on Monday; but the office is a sinecure, as there is not a schoolhouse in the county. Neither is there a church building, and no religious service has been held in the county for two years. No taxes have been collected during the same period. Scores of dwellings have been robbed and burned, and women and children are fired at almost daily. In short, government has utterly collapsed, and civilization has practically vanished. If Judge Lilly's present movement fails, it would really seem as though there were nothing to do except to leave the people to kill each other off, so that a new set may take a fresh start.
"Perry County, as we have said, has no
church, but a recent paragraph in a Martin County newspaper shows how little restraining influence religion exerts in that region. Martin County is still farther up among the mountains, lying on the border of West Virginia. It appears that the clergy of this county are given to the habit of getting drunk, and the Gazette, published in the town of Inez, served notice not long ago that thereafter it would expose all offenders of this sort.
"These counties are peopled almost exclusively by the descendants of the original white settlers. Martin had by the last census only 32 blacks out of a total population of 3,057, and Perry but 139 out of 5,607. Foreigners are even scarcer than negroes, Martin reporting but four persons who were born abroad, and Perry only one. The greatest surprise to most Northern people will be the revelation of the politics of these ignorant and lawless mountaineers.
"Both Martin and Perry counties are 'Republican strongholds.' The Tribune Almanac shows that Martin County, in 1888, cast 525 votes for Harrison, against only 218 for Cleveland; while in Perry County the Republican candidate for President had 699 votes to 296 for the Democratic. Moreover, the growth of Republicanism in Perry keeps pace with the growth of lawlessness. In 1880 Garfield had only 241 majority; while eight years later Harrison had 403."-New York Evening Post.
Political development in these Kentucky counties ought to be extremely interesting to Anarchists; for others it might be interesting to speculate as to the causes of the prevalence of crime in this region, whether it is due to the physical conditions or to the character of the original settlers. The report says that the country is full of beautiful scenery, and the climate is probably fine. We might expect to find an idyllic society in such a region, cut off almost entirely from this material civilization, to which so much of the vice and crime that exist is attributed. Probably only a meagre subsistence can be obtained there, and the inhabitants are not fond of work. But this is not enough to account for the phenomena, while it will not do to attribute too much to the original character of the settlement. The amount of barbarism seems to have been increasing for a long time, and an explanation is required to account for the increase.
TO-DAY, SEPT. 25, 1890.
J. MORRISON-FULLER, WALTER C. ROSE, Editors.
RECIPROCAL RECIPROCATION; OR, POLITIC RECIPROCITY.
(The Politician's Complete Guide, designed for the use of Republican Congressmen absent from Washington. By the Hon. JAMES G. BLAINE; opening lines done into octosyllabic verse some years before they were written, by SAMUEL BUTLER.)
'Mong these there was a politician, With more heads than a beast in vision So politic, as if one eye
Upon the other were a spy,
That to trepan the one to think
As busy as a child at play,
He had seen three governments run down,
Was for 'em and against 'em all,
He never failed to save his tide,
And at the change came ne'er too late:
By turning, wriggle, like a screw,
Which way the world began to draw.
The uselessness of the revolutionary methods by which the Republicans tried to turn the House over to minority rule has now become apparent. When the quorum-counting process was first put in operation, the pretence was that the expedition of business required resort to drastic means. The hollowness of this pretence has been exposed much sooner than might have been anticipated. Public opinion and the poll should have been left to deal with those members who, without good reason, and simply to make a spectacle of themselves, indulged in obstruction. But the truth is, that the custom of requiring an affirmative majority vote for every bill, and even for every fragment of a bill, is not unreasonable obstruction, but is, in fact, the only custom consistent with sound democracy. The advantage which democratic government may have over other forms or means of governing does not lie at all in the things which, by that means, may be done; but the advantage lies rather in the things which, by that means, may be prevented. Historically considered, the very essence of a legislative body is obstructive, and only secondarily may its func
tion be regarded as constructive. For even if the fiscal function be deemed the most fundamental attribute of a legislative assembly, still even here obstruction is the primary need which such bodies have sprung into existence to supply. First, to prevent taxation, - by king, freebooter, or executive; only secondarily, to supply the deficiency thus created, by levying taxes more judiciously. Thus must be construed the function of a Parliament in the light of history. But various other agencies having now come into play for checking the aggressions of officials and tyrants, the Legislature is in danger of being perverted into an aggressor itself. Indeed, the perversion is already accomplished, and the only question which remains is whether, unlike aggressions of earlier kinds, this new tyranny may be checked by peaceful and bloodless means. One check on the tendency of Legislatures to ride rough-shod over personal liberty is the custom of having recourse to a majority vote. Legislation that is backed by a real instead of by a fictitious majority is not only necessarily diminished in quantity but probably also mitigated in quality. But it is matter of the gravest consequence that we have now embarked upon a course of minority legislation. The change is not parliamentary: it is national. How truly it is so is now abundantly shown by the appearance of factions in the Republican party, so serious that Representatives abstain from voting, and thus permit legislation by a minority of their own party, when their true function is to defeat such action. And the same House which pretended to rebuke the Democrats for obstruction is now about to pass important bills, as it has already done, by a minority vote. And this is worse than the most obnoxious obstruction.
WORK OF THE TARIFF CONFEREES.
The tariff conferees discussed for three hours last night the metal schedule, and resumed it again this morning without finally disposing of it.
Just think of it! for three long hours these sages discussed the metal market of the United States!
It is easy enough to see what it is that reconciles American business men to the tariff tampering of successive Congresses. Some of these men may honestly believe that the whole country is benefited by Congressional supervision, but the majority of them are
moved far more by the consciousness that the chances of gambling are increased; and each one thinks that he will draw the prize.
As the time for the Presidential election of 1812 approached, it became evident that the campaign was to turn on the prosecution of the war with England. It is interesting, at this day, to look back at the events which accompanied a Presidential election of this early date. The election of 1812 was, in many respects, unlike preceding ones: Washington, two terms, Adams, Jefferson, two terms, Madison, in all, twenty-four years from the first election. Never before had party feeling run so high, because he parties. in this election were really factious.
But what must strike us most forcibly is the mode of nomination which was then practised, for the difference between that and our present custom suggests very interesting reflections on one of the remote effects of railways. Madison and Gerry — of evil fame, as witness the addition he has left to our vocabulary: gerrymander · were nominated by a caucus of their Republican partizans in Congress! This was on May 18th; and, as a protest against the importance which Congress was thus arrogating to itself, a Republican caucus of the New York Legislature nominated DeWitt Clinton as an opposition candidate. Then a secret caucus of Federalists, who had dropped out of the contest as a national party, met in New York, and indorsed Clinton for President, nominating, at the same time, Ingersoll for Vice-President.
This seems to us a curious machinery for conducting a Presidential nomination: a Congressional and a Legislative caucus for the Republican factions, and a secret assembly of personal acquaintances to represent the Federalists. Yet it is evident enough that local aggregation was a much more important factor in those days than it is now; and the expense of a separate nominating convention, especially when taken in connection with the absence of postal communication to secure uniformity between sections, was quite sufficient to negative recourse to that mode of nomination. So the selection of party candidates had to be left to bodies already congregated for other purposes.
Madison and Gerry were elected by 128 and 131 respectively, against 89 and 86. The electors in that year were chosen at the general
poll, except in Vermont and New Jersey, where the Legislatures voted for the electors.
"Doubtless the pleasure is as great
As lookers-on feel most delight,
That least perceive a juggler's sleight, And still the less they understand, The more th' admire his sleight of hand." These lines are brought to mind on reading an account of the Republican convention in Massachusetts, and more particularly by the speech of the chairman. Inasmuch as the audience is spoken of in the newspapers as an "intelligent" one, it is probable that many of the hearers did see through some of the orator's sleights and tricks, but they were there to applaud and to be deceived, even if they had to deceive themselves, not to criticise, and to weigh coolly the statements which were made. There is hardly a statement in the whole speech which is true in the way it was made, but that is hardly to be expected in a political speech. It does not mean much in these days to call a man in public life a lying scoundrel, and besides, the language is hardly justifiable under any circumstances; least of all would it be warranted in such a case as this, where the temptation was so great and the extenuating circumstances so many. There was the temptation made almost irresistible by the probability of success. The campaign of lying and misrepresentation succeed very well in Maine; and the voters of Massachusetts cannot be said to be more intelligent, on the whole, than those of that State. Moreover, the supreme object of the speech was to please the audience.
Consider the overwhelming difficulty in which an orator would find himself who should attempt to make a speech two columns long, dealing with such topics as this one dealt with, that would, at the same time, please the audience and contain nothing but truth. He would have to confine his remarks entirely to his opponents, to the utter neglect of his own party. Even the Saviour of the world could not please the Scribes and Pharisees while he told the truth about them.
It is not, as the orator stated, true that "nothing is more surprising than the success of the Republican party, since the better classes, as they call themselves, left it." It is much easier to appeal to ignorance than to intelligence to deceive an ignorant man
than one who is intelligent. Moreover, where every man counts for one and none for more than one, either party is able to buy enough votes to outweigh the votes of all the men in the State who will really vote intelligently next November. The only question is, whether, in the long run, the masses will be led by the intelligent class, or by the politicians.
OREGON, MO., Sept. 14th, 1890,
TO THE EDITOR:
Prohibition is not the cause of the loss to Iowa of population. If so, Kansas must also have lost, and so must many prosperous counties in Missouri where, under the laws, strict prohibition exists. Missouri's increase is mostly in cities, and in a region in the south-central part of the State, opened up since 1880. Iowa has no growing cities. Her population rushed out over her borders into Nebraska, Dakota, etc. I am not a Prohibitionist, but truth is truth.
[We are glad to have attention called to hasty generalizations of this kind, even although, as in this case, the fault is not with us. The note to which our correspondent alludes, as he will see by referring to page 259, is taken from the Kansas City Times; nor is there any good reason why the opinion there expressed of the decline in the population of Iowa should have found a place in TO-DAY, except to suggest a possibility. A man intending to engage in brewing or liquor selling would be apt to give Iowa a wide berth; but this defection might be offset by the settlement of one in favor of prohibition. It seems unlikely that the population of Iowa has been affected one way or the other by its prohibitory law. — ED.]
A correspondent of the Boston Herald raises the question of the constitutionality of the bounty system. He says: —
"Some of the opinions of the Supreme Court which I have seen quoted almost state in so many words that Congress has no right to give the money raised by general taxation to any especial class or interest. It has been done by indirection by means of the tariff, as we all know; but this bill does it directly, and it seems to me that in case of its passage an injunction placed on the Secretary of the Treasury to prevent payment might be the means of settling an important question, and prevent, for a time, a hoard of applications for bounties from interest which have equal rights to bounties as those who get them by this bill."