Imágenes de páginas

and now cold as the political barometer troops of her favorite, General Tung, seemed to demand.

ravaged the country in advance of the Yu-Hsien, Governor of the province of Imperial refugees, so that it was difficult Shansi, in his previous post as Governor for them to get enough to support life, of Shantung, developed the Boxer organ- and many of the attendants are reported ization, and was the first to bring it to to have deserted and returned to Peking effectiveness. He is personally respon- for this reason. sible for all the terrible evils in Shantung, On the morning of the 28th of August, and for the massacre of the missionaries two weeks after the occupation of Peking, in Shansi.

small detachments of the eight military Jung-Lu and Tung have already been forces concerned, marching in the order mentioned as Generals holding high com- of the numbers of troops embarked in mands.

the campaign, made a formal entry into Kang, popularly known as “ Lord High the Forbidden City and were there reviewed Extortioner," was sent through the central by the senior General in command, after and southern provinces last winter to which the British field artillery fired a squeeze out more funds for Imperial waste- salute of one and twenty guns, to indicate fulness to squander, and was in everything that the occupation in force of the innera dutiful henchman of his imperial and most shrine of Chinese exclusiveness was evil-minded mistress.

now completely accomplished. Thus was With the exception of General Tung, added the last touch to the punishment of those just named are Manchus, who had Peking. contrived to absorb almost all the highest What is it that the Manchu nobles and places in the Empire, to the exclusion of the Empress Dowager have achieved in the Chinese.

their effort to exterminate the Ocean The Empress Dowager herself left the Men, and to drive Western civilization palace where she had so long exercised a out of the Celestial Empire? Disaster, despotism as absolute as in this age of humiliation, and abject defeat such as in the world any mortal can enjoy, in the modern days is rare, not to say unexamearly morning hours of August 15, in great pled. In a tempest of insane passion they haste and fear, disguised as a common have exiled themselves, put an end to woman, with an ordinary cart for her use, Manchu domination, and lost the Decree and an insignificant procession, so that of Heaven by which alone they have for two days it was not ascertained for claimed to rule. “Whom the gods would certain that she had left at all. The destroy, they first make mad.”


By Joel Benton Night of eeriest wonders seen

Now youths and maidens by the fire Is the eve of Hallowe'en

Watch the flames rise and expire;
Then things befall too dear to doubt, Chestnuts put upon the coals
For all the Fairy World is out-

To see what augury controls
And, in the dusk or moonlight clear, Their love—or, where the apples float
Miracles once more appear.

In a tub, the omens note. Kobold, elfin, pixy, sprite,

We, too, who may not wander more Flock to celebrate this night;

On Youth's iridescent shore, Pranks they play with nuts and yarn- Still beside the fireplace sit And, from the garden, field, and barn, Amidst Love's coquetry and wit, Masked they come, keen tricks to try, And dream of our lost, joyous teens, With fortune-telling riotry.

Over uncounted Hallowe'ens.

Public Service Companies and City Govern





By Washington Gladden
HE relation of public service com- Chicago Council, for legislation in its

panies to city governments is a interests. In the Legislature the bribe

subject on which much is pretty was effectual; it failed in the Council well known that cannot be definitely only because a well-organized and resolute stated. Some of the relations between lynching-bee appeared to be imminent. public service corporations and city gov- The Philadelphia Gas Works were leased ernments are open and public; all of them to the present company at a certain figure ought to be; but it is naturally believed when another company, believed to be that relations of a subterranean and responsible, was offering to take the same illegitimate character are often established contract and pay the city a bonus of ten between representatives of the city and millions of dollars for it. It is not to be representatives of these companies, by supposed that these capitalists were offermeans of which oppressive powers and ing the city of Philadelphia ten millions privileges are granted to the companies of dollars for nothing, and the action of and the public is made the prey of their the Council in this case is naturally sup rapacity. Some of these transactions posed to have been dictated by other than have been exposed and punished by the public reasons. courts ; they are not maiter of suspicion, I have mentioned but a few of many but of record. It is not disputed that instances in which corrupt relations are New York Aldermen received about twenty believed to have existed between city govthousand dollars apiece for voting for the ernments and public service companies. Broadway surface franchise; that was The whole melancholy story does not proved in court, and some of the bribed need to be told. It is a shameful recordAldermen went to prison. Mayor Pingree, one that no American citizen can conof Detroit, has stated over his own sig- template without a sinking of the heart. nature that the Citizens' Street Railway “ The recent history of American municiCompany of that city offered seventy-five palities,” says Mr. L. S. Rowe," has thousand dollars for his influence in shown that the inability of our city govsecuring legislation which they desired. ernments to maintain control over private Ex-Mayor Black, of Columbus, has pub- corporations performing quasi-public funclicly declared that twenty-five thousand tions constitutes the greatest danger to dollars' worth of stock was once promised American local institutions. It is scarcely him for his support of a certain measure. an exaggeration to say that these corpoMr. Bemis quotes a street-railway financier rations have succeeded in intrenching who told him that when he offered to build themselves as the real power behind the extensive railway lines in Chicago with a constituted authorities in all matters three-cent fare, he was informed by mem- affecting their interests.” bers of the City Council that items of that It is not to be assumed that such illicit nature were unimportant; that the essen- relations always involve the payment of tial thing would be the payment of $25,000 money by the corporations to the municito the Aldermen as a retaining fee, so to pal officers. A competent investigator speak, with $250,000 more when the expresses the belief that the amount of franchise was secured.

This sum, if

money received by Councilmen in the reports are to be trusted, was but a frac- Philadelphia gas steal was not large. tion of what the existing street-railway“ The truth would seem to be," he says, company expended in the Legislature in "that the members are not self-acting Illinois, and was ready to expend in the agents, and therefore, with few exceptions,

not in a position to demand a bribe. An "An address delivered at the Municipal Reform Association.

assertion was made to me by one of the

It is pos

members that there is not a man in the ability,' had they not been used in an Councils who does not sit there at the offensive sense, would accurately describe sufferance of some boss. The different the men connected with the company. railroads have their political agents. These The belief that these men used bribery agents are local bosses in small sections to obtain property shows to what depth of the city. There are a few men in the of degradation we have come. Councils known as belonging to the Read- sible for a large part of the community to ing Railroad's political agent, others who believe, without direct evidence, that some belong to the Traction's political agent, of the first of their fellow-citizens have or the political agent of some other com- acted as rascals.” It is possible to bepany who must go to Council from time lieve it, because it is impossible to doubt to time and ask favors. In order to get it. When such men are seen walking off a bill through Council one must secure the with the stolen goods in their possession, approval, not of the Councilmen, but of it is difficult to believe that they have had these who control them. Unquestionably, nothing to do with the theft. Mayor it is as bad to bribe the man whom you Swift, of Chicago, conveyed to the Comknow to control the Councilman's vote as mercial Club of that city the precise truth: to bribe the Councilman directly, but it is 6 Who bribes the Common Council ? It much harder for others to prove it." is not the men in the common walks of

It is quite true that the influence of life. It is you representative citizens, public service companies upon municipal you capitalists, you business men.' officials is often indirect. In many in- Of course the actual negotiations with stances it is exerted through the agency dishonest officials are not apt to be conof the local boss, to whose funds the com- ducted by the leading stockholders and panies make liberal contributions. Nom- the influential directors. There is generinations are dictated by him, and when ally a “wicked partner"-general manhe has paid the election expenses of the ager, or confidential agent-who attends candidate he sees no good reason why he to the details. Probably the eminently reshould not control the work of his hands. spectable take great pains to know nothing Sometimes, when there is no local boss about it. But it is not, after all, a very who can be trusted, the companies, through profound secret ; if the" wicked partner " attorneys or other agents, take an active did not know that what he did was acceptbut somewhat shadowy interest in nom- able to the rest, it would not be done. inating and electing city officers; it is the And very often there is not much concealcommon understanding nowadays that ment; bribery of public officials is openly elections are carried by money, and impe- justified on the ground that “a man must cunious candidates are often gratified by protect his property.” “What would you secretly proffered assistance from those do yourself ?” these capitalists demand. who hope to be remembered in their time “Would you sit still and see your hard of need.

earnings and the accumulations of years But along with these cryptic operations confiscated by robbers ?” there is much direct and flagrant bribery. I think that it is getting to be a prevaAnd the surprising and appalling thing is lent notion that bribery to prevent the that so many of those who occupy high spoliation of properties by rascally officials positions in society and in the church are is entirely justifiable, almost meritorious. more or less closely connected with this It is just here that the public conscience nefarious business. In writing, two years needs toning up. I can see, for my part, and a half ago, of the lease of the Phila- very little distinction between the coward delphia Gas Works, Mr. William Draper who is bullied into bribery by the public Lewis says: “ There is an almost univer- spoilsman, and the corruptionist who himsal belief among all classes in the city self takes the initiative. The one lets the that bribery has been used to obtain the bandits make a tool of him, and the other acceptance by the city government of this uses the bandits as his tools. Which is lease. This belief is not confined to the more honorable ? On the whole, I those who are opposed to the lease, but have more respect for the aggressive is shared by many who were strongly in briber. favor of it. The words “eminent respect- “But what would you do?” these re


spectable people persist. "Must not a the people become aroused to the degraman protect his property ?” And they dation of their politics and to the need of cast upon you glances of ill-concealed reform, their attention is concentrated on compassion because you fail to see that the chief source of that degradation, the nothing else is worth thinking of when underhanded and often high-handed domiproperty is at stake. What answer shall nation of city officials and machine politics we give to these who ask this question ? by the corporations whose life is mainAny man who understands what citizen- tained by city franchises.” Professor Ely ship means would be prompted to say: says : “Our terrible corruption in cities “I haven't much property to lose ; but dates from the rise of private corporations my life is worth as much to me, I suppose, in control of natural monopolies.” “ It is as any man's property is to him ; and I a fact,” says Mr. Charles Whiting Baker, would part with it very quickly before I “that out of the relations between city would consent that any public official governments and franchise companies should be bribed for my advantage. And have grown three-quarters of the municia man who would not sacrifice in a minute pal corruption of the past two decades.” all his property, rather than have any That this is the simple truth no careful part or lot in the corruption of his govern- observer of current events will be likely ment, is a man whose patriotism is of a to deny. The monumental proof of the very cheap variety.” The fact is that the ascendency which such corporations have real criminal in this case is always the gained over the city governments is seen man who pays the money—and it matters in the enormously inflated capitalization little whether it is solicited or proffered. which is almost universal. The steam The man who pays the money to influence railroads of this country, according to the legislation-whether it be to avert hostile last report of the Inter-State Commission, legislation or to ecure favorable legisla- have gross capitalization-stock and tion—is the man upon whom rests the bonds—of $59,620 a mile. That the blame for the corruption of government. steam railways are heavily over-capitalized Spare your censure for the venal legislator is not doubted. But the street railways or councilman ; he would have no power outside of Massachusetts were stocked to do harm if the men who have the money and bonded in 1898 for an average of that he wants did not themselves regard $98,755 per mile—sixty-five per cent. more money as worth more than righteous rule than the steam railways. In Massachuand the safety of the State.

setts some strenuous efforts have been It is by no means true, however, that made to prevent the inflation of capital; these combinations of capital are always the result is that street railways in that on the defensive against official strikers. State are capitalized for only $45,595 per They are very often in the field with their mile-less than half of the indebtedness in money actively seeking to entice and de- the rest of the country. Yet the number bauch public officials who would be, but of cars per mile of track is greater in for their evil influences, honest and faith- Massachusetts than in the rest of the ful. Young men who are not boodlers, country, and there is no reason to believe whose life has always been reputable, are that the equipment or the service in that corrupted and led astray by temptations State is inferior in any respect to that of addressed to their desire for money. the cities west of the Hudson. The sysThere are those to whom a bribe is no tem in Springfield, Mass., where there are temptation ; but the inexperienced and three cars per mile and an admirable servambitious, whose virtue is not thoroughly ice, is capitalized for only $33,000 per grounded, are often successfully assailed mile. The Massachusetts figures show by such- solicitations. It is getting to be what can be done, with a little resolute a perilous thing for a man who is not determination to prevent oppression ; the incased in adamantine armor of integrity figures for the rest of the country show to occupy responsible municipal office. what is done when private corporations

The greatest danger to American insti- are left to work their own will. There tutions arises from the relation of these are few cities in the Central and Western public service corporations to city govern- States in which the street railways and ments. Professor Commons says: “ As the gas and electric lighting companies

are not capitalized for from two to four capital. The public service companies, times the amount for which the plant however, whose interests would be affected could be replaced. The indubitable inten- by stringent legislation find it easy to tion is to compel the people to pay for the raise ample funds and to secure a skillful service much more than would be re- lobby for the prevention of such legislaquired to cover the cost of operation and tion. Those of us who live in State capia good return on the money invested. tals know how powerful are the influences And the expectation is that the city coun- which these great combinations of capital cils can be induced to give franchises by are able to bring to bear upon the legislawhich this spoliation of the people will be tors. It seems, therefore, rather improblegalized. On no other expectation could able that we shall be likely soon to get such ventures be made. This expecta- relief from the oppressions of these motion has, thus far, been almost universally nopolies through direct State legislation. realized. City Councils have generally The Legislature ought, certainly, to do done substantially what the public service two or three things at once; it ought to corporations have wished them to do. enforce the most complete publicity in the The charters of such corporations are accounts of all these companies, prescribgenerally drawn by the attorneys of the ing the methods of bookkeeping, and corporations; they embody such grants punishing condignly all evasions of them ; and concessions and securities as the it ought to limit the capitalization to the companies desire; the rights and interests cost of the plant and make stock-watering of the people are very imperfectly safe- a penitentiary offense; it ought to require guarded. Contrasting German municipal every franchise to be submitted to popucontracts with those in America, Dr. lar vote ; and it ought to create a strong Shaw has pithily said: “In studying these State Board with ample powers to superGerman contracts one is always impressed vise the operations of such companies. with a sense of the first-class legal, finan- Such measures of regulation might check cial, and technical ability that the public some of the worst of the existing abuses. is able to command; while American con- But, after all, I do not expect that these tracts always impress one with the unlimit- measures will be found effectual. My own ed astuteness and ability of the gentlemen strong conviction is that nothing will reach representing the private corporations.” the case except the public ownership and

It is true, and it is a shameful truth. control of public service monopolies. That It is the gentlemen representing the pri- may not come for some time yet, and in vate corporations who have had things, the meantime we must make the best conhitherto, all their own way in dealing with tracts we can, and enforce them as best municipalities; the gentlemen represent- we may, but it is well to confront the issue ing the city have frequently got something which is before us. out of the contract for themselves ; the We may reason as we will about the people's interests have been ignored. inexpediency and impracticability of mu

For this state of things what is the nicipal ownership; the decisive fact is that remedy? Doubtless something might be it is required by the elementary principles done by stringent State legislation, if the of democratic government. A democratic State legislators were sufficiently intelli- people cannot permit the existence of prigent and virtuous.

But the same power vate monopoly; for the very essence of that controls the city councils knows how monopoly is taxation without representato manipulate the legislature. Indeed, tion. • The charge for services which the enterprise of controlling the law- cannot be dispensed with,” says John makers of the State is apt to be less thorny Stuart Mill, "is, in substance, quite as and perilous than that of fixing the city much compulsory taxation as if imposed council ; for the Solons at the State capi- by law." tal are away from home, and easily access- The business of these public service ible by well-directed influence ; public corporations is, in its nature, a monopoly. attention cannot be focused upon their It cannot be, it never is, for any great operations so sharply as upon the council; length of time, controlled by competition. most of the communities for which they The services which they furnish are, for are legislating are at a distance from the many of us, services which cannot bę

« AnteriorContinuar »