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shall receive $12 a month as long as she remains single. If the soldier's wife refuses to live with and care for him, he may, after her absence of six months, procure a divorce from any county court upon the payment of $5." (Extract from newspaper report.)
The railroading through of Public Building appropriations continues in the Senate. Western newspapers speak of this performance as drawing sites." Thus, the new State of Washington "drew" four sites last week, one each for Spokane Falls, Seattle, Tacoma and Walla Walla. San Diego, Cal., "drew" $300,000.
The Urgency Deficiency Bill is reported to have passed the Senate, with several amendments. One of these appropriates $20,000 to be expended by the Secretary of Agriculture for experimental wells — presumably Artesian It is expected that most of this will be used in North and South Dakata. As one boring is apt to cost from $1,000 to $2,000, the appropriation will not go very far. But Senator Moody assures his constituents that this is only the "entering wedge," and that governmental irrigation wil shortly reclaim their desert slopes and sinks.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has had under consideration the Bill making the inspection of meat one of the duties of the Government, A number of pork-packers attended a session of the Committee, and offered an amendment to the Bill. The amendment is obviously adapted to relieve the pork packers by increasing the duties of the Government. Thus, officers must be provided to carry on the inspections of meats at the places of packing, as well as at the ports of exportation. The meat is not to be subject to inspection at the ports unless the inspection has been neglected in the first place. The object of the Bill is to recover trade in salted pork with Germany and France, it having been injured, if not destroyed, by prohibitory regulations of governments of those countries.
In the House the general PensionsAppropriation Bill was discussed in Committee of the whole. Mr. Cheadle, of Indiana, made a long speech demanding the passage of a "Service-Pension" bill. He guessed that the high-water mark of pension expense would be reached about 1894, when the annual cost might amount to $150,000,000. This statement seems
to be taken from Mr. Morrow, of California, who has the present bill in charge. He thinks that under existing laws the number of pensioners will then be 750,000.
Two resolutions were introduced calling on the Interior Department for information on the subject of the Pension Bureau; the one looking to the repeal of the Arrears Act, the other looking to the transfer of the Bureau to the War Department.
Another Pension Bill is that of Mr. Gest, of Illinois, granting a bounty of $50, payable but once, apparently,-or perhaps as often as Mr. Gest may be reëlected-to every volunteer soldier and sailor of the late war.
The Chairman of the Iouse Committee on Commerce introduced a bill amending the Interstate Commerce Law in many particulars, some important, others insignificant. Thus, free carriage is permitted in the case of persons injured in railroad accidents, and of attendants on them; the payment of compensation to other companies for the sale of tickets is prohibited; what are ticket agents, is defined, and that these shall be provided with certificates is appointed, etc., etc.
On the other hand, changes of importance are introduced. None but agents, as defined by this bill, may sell railroad tickets; the holder of a partially or wholly unused ticket shall not sell the ticket;-but the company is required to redeem the valuable portion at its face value, so to speak. As the fine imposed for the violation of this restriction is $5,000, it is obviously in tended for a death blow to the "scalper" busi ness. A further interference with the management of railroads by their owners is contained in the provision authorizing (and requiring) the Commission to fix the rate of compensation to be paid by "common carriers" for the use of cars belonging to other corporations or persons. In this way partial control will be exercised over the Pullman business, the Refrigerator-car companies, Merchant's-Dispatch companies, etc. Finally, what is perhaps the kernel of the matter, the provisions of the Act are to be extended to roads running partly in this country and partly in Canada.
A Member from Kansas introduced a new bill prescribing the conditions for holding Elections for national representatives. Along with other interferences with the right of States to regulate their elections, is one interfering with the franchise itself. It declares that no State law or Constitution shall deprive a citizen once duly authorized to vote for a member of the Legislature of his right to vote, except upon conviction of felony.
By Mr. Stone, of Missouri, a Bill was introduced to abolish the Utah Commission, and to devolve its duties upon a Board to consist of the Territorial Governor, the Secretary and the President of the Legislative Assembly of Utah.
The Bill providing for the Fair to be held in Chicago in 1892 has been reported to the House. The date fixed for opening is April 30, 1892. A commission, consisting of two members from each State and Territory, is provided to cooperate with the corporation; $1,500,000 is appropriated by Congress as the contribution of the government, but $10,000,000 must be raised by the corporation. The friends of the Fair base their anticipations on the success of the last Paris Exposition.
The new Tariff bill emerged from the Ways and Means Committee in some unknown manner. Each part has received the attention of its supposed beneficiaries throughout the country; but the details which have so far attracted most comment are the sugar, leather, and lead-ore (silver) schedules. Some of the less conspicuous details may be noted here. Under "Miscellaneous Manufacturers " occurs :
457 Paintings. in oil or water colors, and statuary not otherwise provided for in this act, 30 per cent. ad valorem; but the term "statuary as herein used shall be understood to include only such statuary as is cut or carved or otherwise wrought by hand from a solid block or mass of marble, stone or alabaster, or from metal, and is the professional production of a statuary or sculptor only.
In Schedule M, under "Pulp, Papers and Books" occurs:
415 Books, including blank books of all kinds, pamphlets, and engravings, bound or unbound, photographs, etchings, maps, charts, and all printed matter not speci. ally enumerated or provided for in this act, 25 per centum ad valorem.
And again, in Schedule B, under "Earths and Earthernware, we find :
110, China, porcelain, parian and bisque, earthern. tone and crockery ware, including placques, ornaments, toys, charms, vases and statuettes, painted. tinted, stained, enamelled, printed, gilded, or otherwise deco rated or ornamented in any manner, 60 per centum ad" valorem; if plain white, and not ornamented or decorated in any manner, 55 per centum ad valorem.
As silk masks are taxed at 35 per cent, Art, from Angelus to Harlequin may consider itself warned.
The entire bill occupies more than ten col umns in the New York Tribune. The reduction of revenue which would be effected by its enact ment is estimated as high as $60,000,000; but if this estimate is correct the reduction will follow from the increased rather than from the de. creased tariffs.
Mr. Butterworth, of Ohio, addressed a House Committee in favor of his bill for taxing dealers in "options" and traders in " puts and calls.' This gentleman is reported to have expressed himself as favorably disposed toward the law of supply and demand. The inference seemed to be that dealers in options were inimical to this law, and that Mr. Butterworth should be permitted and aided and abetted by Congress to come to the rescue of nature.
At a meeting of the House Committee on Coinage, etc., on March 17th, eleven members were present to consider the so-called Windom Silver Bill. An amendment was adopted author izing free coinage of silver when the price should reach $1.00 for 371.25 grains of pure silver.
The section authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend the receipt of bullion on account of the speculative manipulation of the market was struck out.
The House Committee on the Election of President, etc., has under consideration the McComas Bill, by which the Fifty-Second Congress is to be elected from the same districts from which the present Congress was elected.
The House Committee on Agriculture has decided to report favorably on the Conger Bill for the regulation of the manufacture of "Compound" lard. As it comes out of Committee the Bill seems to have the design of merely protecting consumers from the purchase of the "compound" in the place of the pure lard. The real design may be assumed to be the " " protec tion" of the producers of pure lard.
Ohio.-The Senate has passed the Bill sent up from the House which provides that railroad employes who have worked twenty four consecutive hours shall not resume till they have eight hours for rest How much of the eight hours for rest must be spent in sleep is not prescribed, but this will doubtless be attended to next year. Meanwhile, the other inhabitants of Ohio may continue to work forty-eight hours as heretofore
New York.-Two Bills which have attracted much interest were passed and sent to the Governor. One was the Saxton Ballot Bill, providing for the use throughout the State of the Australian Ballot system. The section which aroused most opposition was that requiring that the ballots used should be only those printed by the State. The Democratic members of the Senate demanded that the voters should be permitted to use an unofficial ballot, returning the official ballot to the election officer. An amendment to this effect was defeated, and the original bill was passed, 18 to 7.
The other Bill transfers the care of pauper insane from the counties to the State. The measure was founded on evidence that county management has been inefficient or worse.
Bills were introduced to regulate the so-called commercial agencies which furnish information as to the financial soundness of firms and persons; also to regulate the pawn-brokers' business. The latter bill proposes to fix a maximum rate of interest (1 per cent per month), and the further provision that the auctioneer for selling unredeemed pledges shall be appoinied by the Mayor gives the scheme the aspect of a Tammany job. The gentleman who sighted this job from afar, is the author of another bill, which reads as follows:
All the streets, avenues, and boulevards that are now used by surface-railroad companies or corporations for carrying or conveying passengers in their cars, in cities having a population of 1,000,000, or more. shall clean such streets, avenues ane boulevards of all dirt, refuse, sand, snow or garbage which may accumulate thereon, from curb to curb.
This is perhaps the best solution of the streetcleaning problem which has yet been found — the streets must clean themselves.-The Assembly has a bill in which an attempt is made to tax brokers who deal in speculative wares. They are required to deliver a bill of sale, to which stamps of the value of 1-5 of one per cent. must be affixed. But if the goods are actually delivered, or if the bill of sale carries the date and numbers of stocks sold, the stamps are not necessary.
New Jersey.-The Senate passed a Bill (11 to 10) transferring the power of selecting juries from the sheriffs of counties to commis. sions appointed by circuit judges. This measure is the result of the astonishing extent and kind of political corruption that has prevailed in New Jersey. "Sheriffs have become members of cliques and rings, and their fellow members, in these rings have enjoyed immunity from punis
The Assembly concurred in the Senate resolution to amend the State Constitution by repealing the clause which forbids special legislation for cities and counties. So another legislature may be turned loose upon municipalities. On the other hand, the proposition to permit special legislation for corporations was rejected.
Massachusetts.-The Senate Committee reported favorably this Bill:
Every woman whose name shall be on the register of voters of any city or town, as qualified according to law to vote for School Committee in elections thereof, is hereby given the right to vote in all town and municipal elections for all town and city officers in such city and town.
A resolution was introduced in the House protesting against that clause of the Federal Tariff Bill which levies a duty on hides. The protest comes from the Leather, Boot and Shoe manufacturers of Massachusetts. Rejected.
Maryland. An attempt was made in the House to pass a law requiring the inspection of meat brought in from other States. Twenty three members were found to agree with France and Germany that Chicago furnished bad meat, but as forty-three found the product of that cityto their taste, the bill was rejected. The prin. cipal motive of those voting against the bill seems to have been that they liked Western meat well enough; otherwise they felt no scruples about interfering. The bill seems to have been about the same, however, as that which has been declared unconstitutional in two States, and it would probably have been so declared by the Maryland court.
In the Senate a bill was introduced making voting compulsory. Persons registered? but not voting are to be fined $5-but $100 is exempt. But if the very poor are exempted, how shall a fine of $5 prove efficient?
Iowa.-Bill passed the House reducing the legal rate of interest from 10 to 8 to per cent. Of those under consideration, the Bill which arouses the greatest interest is the "Local Option" Bill. The necessity for saloons seems so urgent that the Act is to be deemed one of emergency, to take effect immediately after publication. Moreover, towns and cities need not wait for a regular election to have the question submitted to them, but special polls shall be held upon petition of one-fifth of the voters in the town. The liquor license is to vary from $500 to $1000.
So favorably does the Local Option theory seem to be received by the people after their experiment in Prohibition, that the idea has been found applicable to other riddles. Thus, the question of free text-books in the public schools may be submitted to local option, a bill to this effect having been introduced in the Senate. By Section 6, on petition of one-third of the electors of any school district, the Board of Directors shall call a special election to vote upon the following propositions :
Shall text-books be furnished free?
Shall they be the series of books selected by the Board of State Commissioners?
Shall the Directors be empowered to procure textbooks for the schools?
Just what is expected to happen, should the district decide not to empower the Directors to procure the books is not yet reported. The plan seems to be an advance over the Massa chusetts method of choosing books; and with local option so evidently in the ascendant in Iowa, the time may be not distant when the people may discover the still greater advantages of personal option.
The House Committee on Post Offices etc., is occupied with the investigation of the scheme to have the government acquire and operate the Telegraph lines. The President and Vice-President of the Western Union, Messrs. Green and Eckert, have sent a letter inviting the Committee to inspect the offices and affairs of their company. They offer to submit their accounts to examination by experts, the object being, apparently, to dispel whatever illusions the members of the Committee may gain by listening to the irrespon
sible testimony of the advocates of the Government-ownership plan. Such seems to be the character of the testimony of Mr. Ed. Rosewater, editor of the Omaha Bec, who said, along with other things, that a ten or fifteen cents rate for would messages be remunerative to the Government. Such a statement as this, in view of the existing Postal rate of ten cents for a specially-delivered letter, invites the most injurious opinion of the soundness of Mr. Rosewater's testimony. The accounts of the Western Union Telegraph Company show, on the contrary, that the average cost of transmission is 23.2 cents per message. No evidence whatever has been produced to show that this service can be, much less that it would be performed cheaper, by the Government.
The House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries received a statement from the Vice-President of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, asserting that the proposed Subsidy to ocean ships would discriminate against some American ports.
A vessel sailing, for instance, from New York to Havana would get a large amount of subsidy, while one sailing from Pensacola to Havana would get a trifling amount. This gentleman proposed to make the 1000 mile subsidy a mininum, to be paid without regard to shorter voyages. He did not mention the fact that this subsidy would also discriminate in favor of some ports the discrimination being just the reverse of that in the former case. He seems to be right in claiming that some ports will be discriminated against under the distance subsidy. A vessel making short voyages, say from Pensacola to Havana, will certainly lie at wharf a larger part of the year than one of the same tonnage making longer voyages, say from New York to Havana. The oftener a vessel makes port, the fewer miles she will sail in a year; but the subsidy-capacity of
a vessel is directly proportional to the miles sailed.
It is equally clear that the cure proposed is worse discrimination than the original. scheme. The suspicion may occur to some that the vice of discrimination in this scheme, et id genus omne, is incurable.
The raison d'etre of the Pan-American Conference appears more plainly every day. Its Committee on Pacific Ocean Communication has handed up its report, the burden of which is SUBSIDY, SUBSIDY. The details of the scheme are briefly as follows:
The countries lying along the Western shore of the continent, shall subsidize one or more lines of steamships to ply between. San Francisco and Valparaiso, touching at intermediate ports. The vessels are to be of 4000 tons at least, and to make bi-monthly round trips. The subsidy for this service is to be 30 cents per ton per 1000 miles, payable annually by the subscribing nations in the proportion of their populations.
The other subsidy recommended by this Committee is one to be paid to a company laying and operating a sub-marine cable along the Pacific coast. In this connection it would be curious to learn whether the grand conception of SUBSIDY, which animates the Conference, originated with the South American delegates or with those representing the United States. In view of the overwhelming probability that the citizens of the Great Yankee Nation will be able to "corner every cent of subsidy for the encouragement of commerce, the origin of the conception seems tolerably clear. And it is the fitting reward of our course of political perversity, pursued in the face of history and of our own experience, that the one idea we should be able to contribute on an occasion so unique as a Western Conference,
is SUBSIDY, SUBSIDY. If New York were to be evacuated by the British today, we should all be there to call out with one voice, not VICTORY, but BEEF, BEEF.
The report of the Committee on Atlantic Ocean likewise begins and ends withSubsidy. Here too subsidies shall take the place of the natural rewards of performing service where service is wanted. It is proposed to subsidize into existence several lines of steamships between United States ports and Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Ayres. These subsidies shall be paid half and half by the United States and Brazil--but the vessels shall all be constructed in the United States! What a fine chance this leaves to the South Americans to become participants in the subsidy! If ships from the Clyde could earn this subsidy the South Americans might establish lines as easily as we could. But then they will have the satisfaction of receiving one letter and two postal cards from us every week.
The Interstate Commerce Commission seems to have undertaken the task of finding an answer to the question why corn is sold at a low price. At first glance this task seems as supererogatory as it certainly is difficult. But there are many ways of approaching it. Not to dwell on the fact that the question may be approached over the Union Pacific from Omaha, as by Messrs. Morrison and Veazey, or over the New York Central from Buffalo, as by Messrs. Bragg and Schoonmaker, it may further be approached with or without prepossessions. If prepossession be one of the elements of the inquiry, this may still be of at least two kinds: the low price of corn may be regarded as a good thing, or it may classed among the ills that the farmer is heir to.