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founded. And, to follow the suggestion to its logical conclusion, the information for the editorial discussion may often be best obtained by doing the reporter's work, while the use of the reporter as an editorial writer upon events which he has described in the news columns is to be recommended upon occasion, and has been tried with no small success. A learned judge once said to me that he had no faith in the conclusions of a court where the judges did n't travel a circuit, and I have also noticed that this same shrewd observer always uses the nominative plural in referring to any judicial act of his own. The "we" had its advantages in jurisprudence as in newspapers.
In his book Henry George clamors boldly for the confiscation of the land; for its seizure by the state without compensation to the owner. But of late, in his paper and speeches, he would reach this confiscation indirectly, by imposing upon land the whole weight of taxation. How would this operate, for example, in Ohio? In that State the land now, it may be, bears one-third of the taxes; the improvements and personal property the other two-thirds. To place all upon the land would increase its burden threefold and proportionally decrease its value, and to this extent confiscate it. Much of the land would not be worth the tax and
would be given up. Thus as to this the confiscation would be complete. Mr. George sees all this and would make the change gradually. But here the first step would tell; the future would be discounted and the confiscation would immediately take place. Does any one believe that the landed interest, the farmers of Ohio, would submit to this? Could it be enforced except at the expense of a war in comparison with which the late conflict were a tame thing?
Hence, whatever its theoretic merits may be, George's plan is outside of practical politics. It is simply impossible. The cities could not force it upon the country. Therefore, with all his excellent intentions,—and I
freely concede these,- Henry George is a disturbing force, an incubus upon the labor cause. He arrays the farming interest against it; he distracts its council, paralyzes its action, sows distrust and suspicion abroad. He is indeed the unwitting ally of the monopolist.
His generalization rests upon too narrow a basis: he speaks from a personal experience. His education in California vividly impressed upon him the evils of land monopoly and land speculation. He rushed to the conclusion that these things are the authors of all our social woes. He forgets that the body politic, like the natural body, is a very complex affair, and that no one specific will reach all its ills. Indeed, monopoly of any species of property is an evil; of food, for instance, even a greater evil than of land. The great monopolists, plutocrats, ignore land and escape taxation. What care they where the nominal ownership is, if they gather the fruit? They really view with complacency George's land taxation theory: it will relieve them of the little taxes they now pay.
The remedy is restraint, pruning, regulation, not
confiscation. Let all property bear the taxation that its protection entails. Let there be, as in France, income and succession taxes to prune the overgrown; regulation of and restraint upon corporations; a limitation of land ownership. These are the lines for the labor movement.
The business world tends to congestion of the brain -grows vertiginous, apoplectic. Here a little depletion is good.
The labor conventions spread themselves too much, entangle themselves in outside and doubtful matters. "One war at a time," said Mr. Lincoln.
General Sheridan and his Troops.
THE admirable and graphic description of "The Western Soldier," in THE CENTURY for May, will interest every reader who served in the Western military departments; but all will not agree with the statement that the men "would have liked Sheridan more if he had been less severe."
Previous to being ordered East, General Sheridan commanded a division of the Fourth Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and as such made himself exceedingly popular with his men. The dash and enthusiasm he possessed made him peculiarly suited to handle Western men. They soon learned that when he exacted a difficult service there would be no undue exposure unless a definite result was reasonably certain. Thoughtfulness of his men's comfort was shown in little things. Those who were with General Buell's army during the Perryville campaign will call to mind the dusty "pikes of Kentucky during that memorable pursuit of Bragg. Many of the troops were raw recruits under the 600000 call of July and August, 1862; and beneath the weight of a newly made soldier's knapsack the art of war was learned under depressing conditions. At Perryville some heard the "szip" of bullets not many weeks after their enlistment. The season was dry, and water exceedingly scarce; while the dust from broken limestone was not soothing to throat, nose, and eyes. It was the custom of general officers to make their headquarters, in the evening, at houses near the camps of their respective commands, and to start, next morning, after the army was in motion. If they wished to get to the head of the column, "open order" was the word, while officers, staff, orderlies, and body-guard galloped by, leaving us in the cloud raised by clattering hoofs. I call to mind General Sheridan's habit under like circumstances. Instead of putting his men to such discomfort, he went leisurely round them, through the fields, giving words of cheer and encouragement to the boys as he passed along.
No, General Sheridan was not severe with his men, in the sense of being arrogant towards them, or illtreating them. And those who served under him in the West will always cherish his memory, so that the picture of "Little Phil" on his big black horse will not soon fade from their minds.
A Song of the Road.
COME, comrades, since the way is long
Hurrah for lane and by-way,
'Tis morning-break: lithe limbs are strong;
Hurrah for lane and by-way,
For friends we greet, for foes we meet,
'Tis noontide: let us spend an hour
Hurrah for lane and by-way,
'T is night and low: foul thieves have mobbed
Still fold their treasures to their breast.
Hurrah for lane and by-way,
IT is good to have a purpose;
I approve of it, of course;
All the people who have purposes
But there's one especial purpose
Which has struck me with much force.
It is not my own, this purpose —
Or I surely should not need
I have only seen its shadow
On the wrong side of the screen
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY JOSEPH AND ELIZABETH ROBINS PENNELL.
VERY Englishman has done the Thames, and the time to do it, since everything in England must be done in its season, is the summer.
Oxford is the starting-point. The few track the shy Thames's shore "above the locks, above the boating throng"; the many come downward with the flood. Once we decided upon the course of the many we were urged to change it for that of the few. But we found that above the locks, which begin near Oxford, are dams,-or "weirs," as they are called on
the Thames,-not easy to pass; and we also learned that it is the boating throng which has made the Thames the rival of any water-way in the world and given it a character all its own. On Wednesday, the 1st of August, we drove to Salter's landing-place, though it was pouring. It had been raining more or less steadily for two months, so there seemed no reason to wait for clear weather. Hitherto we had looked upon Oxford only as the university town, but now we came to know it as the Mecca of all river tourists. Were its colleges to disappear one by one, were Ruskin to be forgotten, so long as Salter's boat-house stands by Folly Bridge it will be the trysting-place for the oarsmen of England.
Our boat, which was new, had not yet been launched, but was still at the builder's. It was a pair-oared skiff, but shorter and broader than those generally seen on the Thames - "a family boat," an old river man called it with contempt. Its great feature was the green waterproof canvas cover which stretched over three iron hoops and converted it for all practical purposes into a small, a very small, house-boat. By a complicated arrangement of strings the canvas could be rolled up and fastened on top so as, theoretically, not to interfere with our view of the river banks on bright days; or it could be let down to cover the entire boat from stern to bow - an umbrella by day, a whole hotel by night.
Salter seemed surprised to see us; why, I do not know, for two or three parties started down the river before us. In one boat a girl in a bright pink mackintosh sat in the stern under an umbrella. The men in their clinging wet flannels looked as if they had just been taking headers in the stream. In the midst of a weak and damp hurrah from one ancient boatman, the Rover was at last pushed off its trestles, and, with a vigorous shove, sent clear across the Thames. There was no baptism with champagne; only the everlasting rain was poured Copyright, 1889, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.