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The information here conveyed is quite inadequate for the purpose for which it is used. Are not the State forests much more compact? That being almost the only form of land culture in which the State engages directly, the probability is that its acres are more accurately marked off from land devoted to other uses than would be the case with private estates. In the case of the latter, small patches of meadow land, turf land, etc., may be much more frequently reckoned in with the timber land than in the public timber lands. Again, and much more obviously, if these governments have devoted much attention and unlimited means to timber culture, it seems likely that they will have acquired the lands which are in themselves the most valuable for this use. It would be quite contrary to the expectation of those who deprecate government interference, if the effect was not to discourage private enterprise. So, if Belgium and Prussia own the more valuable timber lands within their territories, it may very well be because they have bought out estates at exorbitant prices, or because the government was found, when the value of timber lands first came to be recognized, already in possession of the more valuable tracts, having been for ages the residuary legatee, while the value of the lands was still unrecognized. Another question needing elucidation is the comparative annual outlays. If, for a period of twenty years, the governments have spent ten times as much on their timber lands as private parties have spent, the balance would still be in favor of the private investment. In order to institute a comparison, all these points need clearing up. Else, how can we estimate the relative efficiency of private and governmental control? And when we read, a little below, that in Prussia, Crown lands (farming) sell for a greater number of years' rental than other lands, because they are known to have been less worked than other lands, we may well hesitate before according unqualified credence to the extravagant pretension in favor of govern
ment timber lands. All that Mr. Rae really succeeds in showing in the case of forestry, as in the case of the post-office, is that some industries are less injured by government control than others; not at all does he show that the State control is superior to private enterprise.
Finally we are invited to consider the mint.
"The best example of an industrial work for which the State's want of personal interest is its advantage is the mint. Nobody would trust the stamp of a private assayer as he trusts the stamp of the government, because the private assayer could never succeed in placing his personal disinterestedness so absolutely above the suspicion of fraud."
It is of course impossible to get along very far in the discussion of the mint with one who treats the question of certification of fineness as the whole or as the most important consideration involved. So I shall confine myself to a flat denial of the writer's statement, that anybody, much less everybody, places absolute confidence in the government stamp, or even as much confidence in it as they do in the certification of the private assayer. Governments generally are yet what they constantly were in the past, the greatest counterfeiters in the world; and it is only very ignorant persons who are unaware of that fact. The United States Government has, since the year 1878, stamped and issued more than $250,000,000
in counterfeit coins. The counterfeit is so base that it would be a profitable business for any person to engage in the same enterprise, using the same stamp and fineness of silver. On the contrary, the Government has by force reserved the profits of counterfeiting for itself, making thereby a usury of about $40,000,000.
No evidence whatever beyond his unsupported assertion that the Government stamp
inspires confidence is produced in favor of
the mint. It is a sufficient reply to this style of argument to assert the contrary.
There remains then as the only factor of any consequence in this discussion the question of reparative justice.
(To be continued.)
No nation can exist a hundred years without affording many curious facts to the collector of that kind of information. Mr. Malcolm Townsend, in the book before us, has made the most extensive collection of historical, geographical, and political curiosities relating to our own country, of which we are aware. But it would be misleading to describe the book as a mere collection of curiosities. Many of the facts given throw a good deal of light upon our national life, while those that are trivial are of the kind usually regarded as interesting, and are facts which most persons will be glad to know. A few years ago, one of the questions for admission to Harvard College asked the pupil to name an instance in which the geographical character of a country had affected the character of the inhabitants. If the question had asked for an instance in which this cause had not produced an effect upon inhabitants, it might have been difficult to answer. Mr. Townsend does not attempt to trace the working of this cause upon Americans, though some of the facts stated might serve as data for doing so. The most interesting and valuable part of the book is a brief exposition of the principles and aims of the most important political parties, numbering more than a hundred, that have existed in our history, and a table showing the attitude of the two or three great parties toward the most vital questions. One of the curiosities disclosed by this table is that, for the last twenty years, all the leading parties have advocated civil-service reform. One would naturally suppose that when all parties advocate a measure, each would vie with the others to be the first to carry it into effect. The book is well printed and tastefully bound, and will easily take its place as the best compilation that has appeared of the matters which it treats..
POLITICS IN THE MAGAZINES.
The Popular Science Monthly contains the second and concluding article on Common Sense Applied to the Tariff Question, by EDWARD ATKINSON.
He opens with the warning that "we are at the parting of two ways," - those who are
*U.S. An Index to the United States of America: Historical, Geographical, and Political. Compiled by Malcolm Townsend. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co.
still persuaded that the main object to be kept in view in placing duties on imports is to establish any and every branch of industry, without regard to the use to which the imports are put, or to the disturbance to other branches of industry, need follow him no longer. Nevertheless, he does suggest to such persons a last criticism of their endeavor, and that is that "taxation with incidental revenue" is unconstitutional.
Mr. Atkinson then makes an industrial classification of the population of the country. According to the census of 1880, there were 17,400,000 out of 50,000,000 classified as occupied for gain. The question is to subdivide this class, with reference to the effect of the tariff on their interests. Twenty-three per cent, say 4,000,000, were engaged in professional and personal service. With this class there can be no direct foreign competition. Ten and four tenths per cent, or over 1,800,000, were occupied in trade and transportation. To these it matters not what they move or what they deal in, foreign or domestic goods Of the 7,600,000 put down under the generaj head of agriculture, it is claimed that only 350,000 to 400,000 could be adversely affected by reduced tariff, this number being in the ratio to the total that the value of the agricultural produce which might be imported from other countries is to the total value of the
agricultural produce of the country. Of the 3,800,000 engaged in manufacturing and mechanic arts and mining, about half would have their trade affected by changes of tariff; the other half being engaged in building or other trades not conducted on the factory principle, and not liable to competition by imports from abroad. Summing up the analysis, Mr. Atkinson concludes that eighty per cent of the population have no interest in the tariff except as
The second part of the articie is devoted to the consideration of the question of diversification of industries, and this leads to a discussion of the industrial conditions in the South. There is a discursive discourse on carpet-bag government in those States, which only serves to handicap very severely the general force of the industrial argument. This is, that diversification is a necessity which may be left to take care of itself with perfect confidence.
In the third part, Mr. Atkinson submits an ideal budget, prepared with much ingenuity, and therefore exhibiting much simplicity.
"Omitting fractions, the internal revenue from whiskey more than pays the cost of civil government. The excess added to the tobacco tax more than suffices to pay the army expenses and fortifications. The navy floats on beer, with a part of the beer to spare and carry forward. The income from the Indian Trust funds meets the cost of the Indian department. The miscellaneous permanent receipts of various kinds more than cover the miscellaneous permanent expenses; while the sugar tax and the revenue derived from imported liquors and tobacco cover the postal deficiency and the interest on the public debt, with $10,000,000 to spare.”
This is what might be done, and the total foots up $173,000,000. But war expenses, including pensions, interest, and sinking fund, are at the rate of $180,000,000. The two classes of expenses added together make $353,000,000.
But the present Congress has passed appropriations for $450,000,000; and instead of levying revenue taxes to meet this excess, the obstructive tariffs have been retained and even increased.
In Scribner's the articles on the Rights of the Citizen are continued by JAMES S. NORTON, in No. V., on the Right to Property. The citizen holds his property under numerous restrictions, each having for its justification, in the minds of those imposing the restriction, some peculiar set of conditions which make it impracticable for the community to recognize an absolute right.
Thus, he may own a city lot; but if he sell it or devise, he must conform to laws regulating conveyances or wills, - framed for the protection of titles.
If he build, he must observe municipal ordinances, designed to promote the public safety.
If he occupy, he must regard the health and even the comfort of his neighbors; and always, his property is subject to taxation, nominally, at least, for public purposes, while it may also be seized by the State for the liquidation of his debts. And it is liable to absolute appropriation, on assessed compensation, for public uses.
"In theory, as it is stated by an eminent authority, the legislature cannot, in the form of a tax, take the money of the citizens and
give it to an individual, the public interest and welfare being in no way connected with the transaction.' So, in theory, justices of the peace cannot grant divorces. But a Western justice punctured this theory recently by the remark that he knew better- as he had granted several himself."
Moreover, this power over private property which the State exercises without any effective check, is frequently and liberally delegated to municipal and quasi-municipal corporations. This involves, to put the power in the most general way, the assessment of values or of special benefits, by an officer or board elected for that purpose; and taxes levied under these conditions may be collected under penalty of confiscation.
There is, further, the power of Eminent Domain, which is constantly exercised by the State, also frequently delegated to corporatious. Thus the citizen must consider his property as at all times for sale.
Again, the States exercise what has been called a police power, in virtue of which, and in accordance with the recent decisions of high authority, the extent of legislative regulation to which the use and enjoyment of property may be subjected is practically unlimited, so far as the courts are concerned.
Then follows a more detailed discussion of several decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, especially in regard to the Granger cases of 1876, iu which the question of when private property is devoted to public use is the point involved.
Finally one may give away his property — under certain restrictions. These relate to frauds on creditors, and the wife's right of dower in the estate. The restrictions of the property rights of women are not separately treated: apparently because they are not citizens.
It may be said of this article, therefore, that while it is nominally concerned with the rights the citizen has to his property, the matter really discussed is, the rights which he does not have. But whether this is the fault of the subject, or of the writer, would appear only on closer examination. The right which he finds least circumscribed is the right of gift. But seeing that, in the case of real estate, this is subject to the same conditions as to conveyances under sale, the propriety of the distinction is not very obvious.
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