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The Single Tax on Land Values.
The first class may be dismissed at once, for they
have everything to gain and nothing to lose. They IN your issue for July you publish, under the title would pay their rent to the state in place of paying the “ Confiscation no Remedy," a letter from W. M. landlord, and would be relieved of all the direct perDickson of Cincinnati, Ohio. Pray grant me the op- sonal taxes and the indirect revenue and tariff taxes portunity to answer briefly the objections raised. that they now pay upon everything they consume, from
Your correspondent says: “In his book Henry lumber, salt, and woolens through the whole category George clamors boldly for the confiscation of the land; down to the Bible. for its seizure by the state without compensation to The second class is really part of the first class; for the owner. But of late, in his paper and speeches, he if their farms are mortgaged they do not own them would reach this confiscation indirectly, by imposing to that extent, but are actually paying rent, and so far upon land the whole weight of taxation."
belong to the first class, and would enjoy the same Far from having advocated any such measures in advantages under the single tax. Another great and “Progress and Poverty” as those here attributed to direct gain would be, that to start in life they would not him, Henry George expressly protests against them. be compelled to invest a large sum of money to buy a In Book VIII., Chapter II., on page 364, he gives the farm, but could lease it from the state for a moderate keynote of his theory: "I do not propose either to sum annually, and enjoy the same security of tenure purchase or to confiscate private right to property in as now under private ownership of land. The temptaland. The first would be unjust, the second needless. tion to buy more land than they can cultivate, for specLet the individuals who now hold it still retain, if they ulative purposes only, thus making themselves landwant to, possession of what they are pleased to call their poor, would also be removed. Insomuch as they own land. Let them continue to call it their land. Let them their land clear of all incumbrance, they would belong buy and sell, and bequeath and devise it. We may to the third class. safely leave them the shell, if we take the kernel. It This third class, holding their land free of all incumis not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary brance, would of course, with the rest of the commuto confiscate rent." No further comment is needed. nity, be relieved of all the direct and indirect taxes. Then
Next your correspondent states that at present the it should be remembered that they now pay an annual land in Ohio, his native State, pays about one-third the tax not only on their land but also on their improvetaxes, and improvements and personal property two- ments. This tax, which now increases every year the thirds; that to place this whole burden of taxation on more they improve their property, would be entirely land would greatly decrease its value and throw such removed. And, finally, consider the following: of it as was not worth the tax on the market. The In the census of 1880 these figures are given for the single tax on land values would undoubtedly act just State of Ohio: Assessed valuation of real estate, as described — and that is its object. But your corre. $1,093,677,705. And in another part of the same censpondent jumps at the conclusion that, this being so, sus: (Real) value of farms in Ohio, including land, the farmers would be most injured and would enlist fences, and buildings, $1,127,497:353. in a body against the tax on land values; and probably It will be seen from these figures that all the real knowing that the farmers constitute fifty per cent. of estate of the State of Ohio was assessed at less than the our population, he continues : “Hence, whatever its real value of all the farms and their improvements, theoretic merits may be, George's plan is outside of leaving out all city lands and mining lands, which are practical politics. It is simply impossible.”
by far the more valuable. Two reasons or explanations This is a statement, but not an argument. The farmer exist for this: first, the undervaluation of improved is as good as any other citizen, but no better, and property, which is practiced everywhere more or less, he is entitled to no special consideration, or special but especially in the large cities; and, secondly, the enlegislation. Nor is land in the country, whether under tire absence from or nominal valuation upon the taxcultivation or not, any different, economically consid- lists of tracts of unimproved farm lands. These two ered, from land in the city used for building sites. facts are notorious, and result in the shisting upon the Land is land, and the taxation on its value will fall no shoulders of the working farmer of taxes that should heavier on the farmer than upon the manufacturer, or be paid or shared by land speculators, city property importer, or other citizen. On the contrary, being on holders, and corporations. land values, most of the tax will be paid where the We therefore confidently assert that, by taking all value is highest - in cities, in mining districts, and upon taxes from improvements, by removing all existing land held under franchises. But your correspondent direct and indirect taxes, by assessing all land at its having from sentimental reasons selected the farmers full value, whether improved or unimproved, and by (of Ohio) as a standard by which to test the justice taxing all land values to the extent of their rental value, of the measure, let us examine the effect the introduc- the taxes of the farmers of the third class also would tion of the single tax upon land values would have upon be less than they are at present, and that they would their condition.
for the first time get the full return of their labor. This There are three kinds of farmers in Ohio, as else- is self-evident when we consider that under the single where:
tax upon land values the farmer would pay no laxes First. Those who lease their farms and pay rent, in whatever except the rent of his bare land, and that money or in produce.
being based upon the natural advantages he enjoyed, Second. Those who fondly believe they own their he could always afford to pay. All this is more ably farms, but who have them mortgaged.
discussed in “ Progress and Poverty," Book IX., Third. Those who own their farms free from all in. Chapter III. cumbrances.
As to believing that the single tax is a cure for all
ills that flesh is heir to, Henry George does not assert, work, would get considerably more done for the money nor has he ever asserted, it. He does believe that the than a dozen or fifteen roadmasters working out the land monopoly is the greatest of all monopolies, and tax in conjunction with their neighbors and fellow. that it should be the first attacked; but the social farmers. benefits to be derived from an introduction of the Proper tools should be provided to work with. Road. single tax are so numerous and so far-reaching that scrapers are almost unknown in many country diseven a partial enumeration of them seems indeed like tricts, and plows and shovels are the tools most setting up a claim for a panacea.
commonly used. Very good road-scrapers can be And here is Mr. Dickson's solution of the social bought to-day for only two or three times the cost of a question : “The remedy is restraint, pruning, regula- good plow, and two men, two horses, and a road-scraper tion, not confiscation.” But this, instead of being a will do the work of an equal number of horses and ten remedy, is exactly what we have been doing for centu- men with plows and shovels, and do it better. ries. No! decidedly other measures are necessary.
Only the best obtainable materials should be used First of all, we must stop the restraining, pruning, in repairing the roads – gravel when possible, and when regulating work of those unjust laws which take from not, the dirt most nearly approaching it in quality. one to give to another; which in violation of the spirit The use of “gutter-wash," sods, and stones larger of our Constitution create a privileged class. And after than two inches in diameter should be forbidden. I that we must give all the same opportunity to that have seen roads, “ mended” with sods, that were for element land, which is as much a matter of necessity weeks impassable at any gait faster than a walk, and to man as air. This will be doing justice; and this the I have seen holes in the road-bed filled with large single tax on land values will accomplish, by killing stones that were a nuisance for years. land speculation and practically restoring the land to The roads should be worked at proper times. The the people, without disturbing security of titles or need of the dirt road is little repairs often made. The
common practice is to do almost all the work just William S. Kahnweiler. after “corn-planting.” This is wrong, for two reasons:
it is too late for the best results, and too much is done Country Roads.
at one time. Six inches of earth or gravel will make The average country road as at present maintained a far better road if put on in layers of, say, two inches and repaired is a constant source of unnecessary ex- at intervals of a month or so, than will the entire pense to taxpayers and an almost constant vexation amount applied at once. Just as soon as the roads are to travelers. At its best the dirt road is good for settled in the spring, and before they have become dry only a few months in the year, and those months the and hard, the scraper should be put to work leveling time when the farmer — the man most interested in and filling the ruts worn during the winter, and slightly good country roads — is using his horses on the farm. rounding the road-bed towards the center. The ground In the fall, winter, and early spring, when the great being still moist, and not compact as at the usual bulk of teaming is to be done, the roads are in bad time of doing this, the work can be done more easily shape, except when kind Providence sends a snow that and rapidly and the road will pack better. Later, a makes “good sleddin'.” Bad roads mean small loads, light coat of earth or gravel, to be followed by another and small loads mean to the farmer proportionately when the first becomes packed hard, and this in turn small profits. I know many and many a farm where by a third if possible. Lastly, in the fall the entire road the saving in time from hauling larger loads, the sav- should be gone over to see that all gutters and bridges ing in wear and tear of horsefesh, wagons, and har- are free, that the road may not be washed out by winness, would over and over again pay for the increased ter storms and spring rains. All mudholes of course initial cost of a good macadam road.
should be filled promptly at all times so that no water Made of the best dirt obtainable, applied under in- may stand in the road, and loose stones should be telligent supervision, and kept in order with proper removed at least once a month. road-inaking tools, the dirt road never is entirely satis- The usual time for cutting brush - August - seems factory. What, then, can be expected of the quality right, but some reform is needed in the way of doing of roads made of the material most easily obtained, it. The brush should be cut close down to the ground, applied by men ignorant of the first principle of road and not, as often is the case, cut a foot or more above making, working without proper tools, and supervised it, leaving long unsightly stubs to sprout the ensuing either by men equa ignorant, or not at all ?
spring. It should be piled at once, and burned when The true remedy for poor dirt roads is good macadam; sufficiently dry. Under the present system I have but with no greater expenditure of money than now, seen brush cut, left as cut, the next year's growth cut the present roads might be vastly improved. The over the top of that, and the resulting tangle aban. road tax should be paid in cash: the system of loafing doned the third year. out the tax under pretense of “working the roads" With some such system as this I have sketched, the should be abolished. This money should be expended application to the road work of the business rules which under the immediate supervision of one man for each govern every progressive farmer in the conduct of his township, selected for a knowledge of road-making, farm, with the work done under the supervision of a and put under bonds for the faithful performance of responsible man, done at the proper times instead of his duties. This would introduce into the system the whenever convenient, with the proper tools and with element of responsibility, which is sadly lacking at a proper quality of earth, by men who were compelled present, and to the lack of which are due many of the to give a day's work for a day's pay, the dirt road abuses of the present methods. One man hiring his could be made not good, but vastly better than it is. labor where he pleased, and paying cash for a day's But at its best the dirt road is a costly one to repair :
its only redeeming feature is its comparative initial political prestige is gone, and in at least 70 of the 99 cheapness, and in the long run repairs even this up. counties in the State there cannot be found an open Country communities are apt to complain of the first saloon. cost of the macadam road, while annually spending Seven years have elapsed since the voters of Iowa millions of dollars and moving countless tons of earth, formally withdrew their sanction from the saloon. Five without having good permanent roads.
years have passed since the voters of lowa, through
their representatives, outlawed the saloon. Is there R. A. Learned.
anything in the present situation to warrant a return
to the toleration policy? Let us turn to the figures The Iowa Experiment.
and see what they say on the subject.
I am indebted to Hon. Frank D. Jackson, Secretary “ How is prohibition working in your State?" is the of State, for advance sheets of the “ Official Register of question oftenest asked the Iowa man abroad. The lowa" for 1889. From this source, and by comparison inquirer as he listens to the story his question invites with reports of other years, I discover that the total exusually wears upon his face a peculiar expression which pense of the counties of Iowa, “on account of crimitranslated into words would read, “ I acquit this man nal prosecutions," was in 1882, the year in which the of intent to mislead, but my private opinion is, he's prohibitory amendment carried, $401,431.18. In 1883 romancing.” A rather skeptical acquaintance of mine the total expense of criminal prosecutions was reduced in the East recently said to me, Your story of empty to $361,173.78. In 1884, presidential year, there was jails, flourishing schools, and homes of thrist and com- a slight increase in criminal expenses. In 1885 and fort that were not there before, sounds like one of 1886, years marked by the return of the outlawed saWashington Gladden's fascinating dreams of an ideal loon and a consequent reign of lawlessness, there was *Christian League’; but don't you think you 'd find it a large increase, the total in the year last named being rather difficult to verify your statements with facts and $421,024.31. In 1887, the year following the passage figures drawn from official sources ? ”
of the Clark (enforcement) law, the criminal expenses Leaving to others the picturesque features of the were reduced to $282,877.66; and in 1888 they aggresubject, let me lay before the readers of The CENTURY gated $300,424.06 for ten months. a few suggestive“ facts and figures drawn from official Compare the record of “ leading crimes" in 1888
” — some of the results of an investigation with the same in 1882. In 1888 there were 94 convicsuggested by my practical friend's inquiry.
tions for assault, 13 for breaking and entering, 47 for Permit me to say, in passing, that Iowa, far from burglary, 13 for forgery, 13 for gambling, 42 for keeping being “a commonwealth of temperance cranks," as an a gambling-house, 148 for larceny, 9 for murder, 6 for Eastern journal has it, is a commonwealth of “plain manslaughter, 190 for keeping a nuisance, 59 for selling people”- to borrow a phrase from Lincoln; people intoxicating liquors; total, 634. In 1882 there were who do their own thinking, and have their own way of 188 convictions for assault, 18 for breaking and enterdoing, and are daring enough to believe that some things ing, 78 for burglary, 30 for forgery, 14 for gambling, can be done which the wisdom of the conservative East 41 for keeping a gambling-house, 215 for larceny, 14 pronounces impossible. Taking advantage of the fact for murder, i for manslaughter, 658 for keeping a nuithat we have no great centers of population to dictate sance, 25 for unlawfully selling intoxicants; total, 1282 our policies and load us down, we of Iowa have applied - more than double that of 1888. to the State as a whole the identical theory for hand- A few weeks ago I met Warden Barr, of the Anamosa ling the social evil known as the saloon which Georgia Penitentiary, on his way to Fort Madison with a carand Illinois apply to counties, and which New York load of prisoners, under orders from Governor Larapplies to townships; namely, the theory that the ma- rabee to take these men from the State quarries to the jority shall determine whether the evil shall be toler- State shops. I learned that the transfer was ordered in ated and controlled, or prohibited. At a non-partisan response to a loud call from Warden Crossley, of the election held in the summer of 1882, the question of pro- Fort Madison Penitentiary, for more hands to enable hibition vs. toleration was submitted to the people, and him to comply with certain contracts for labor into which the voters of Iowa, by thirty thousand majority, de. the State had entered with certain manufacturers. The clared they had no longer any use for the saloon. But circumstance led me to write Governor Larrabee for the constitutional amendment which then carried had information as to the comparative number of prisoners not been properly submitted, and was by our Su- in our penitentiaries this year and in previ years. preme Court declared invalid. A disappointed majority From our chief executive I learn that the monthly then turned to the State legislature for relief, and in average of prisoners in the two penitentiaries in 1886 the spring of 1884 a prohibitory law was passed. The was 696; in 1887 it was 667, and in 1888 it was 607. legislatures of 1886 and 1888 sustained the law and on the last day of September, 1888, the end of the strengthened it by amendments. Thus steadfastly have fiscal year, there were but 535 prisoners in both penithe people sustained the prohibition, anti-toleration tentiaries. I am informed by those who have invesmethod of handling the saloon.
tigated the subject that no other State in the Union, “But you will not deny the fact that there have been unless it is Vermont, has as small a percentage of saloons in Iowa during all these years of prohibition ? convicts as has Iowa at the present time. You cannot truthfully say there are no saloons in your But, going back to the counties, what say our judges ? State at the present time ?"
Here is a small pamphlet containing the answers of The outlawed saloon does still linger on our borders; forty-one district and superior-court judges to a numstill maintains a precarious, characterless, hole-in-the- ber of questions put to them by Governor Larrabee, wall existence in many of our cities; but its social and one of the inquiries being as to the expediency of re
pealing the prohibitory law. I find that of the forty. intendent Sabin's report to the last lowa legislature one, 4 favored repeal, 9 were non-committal, and 28 begins thus: “It is gratifying to be able to report a were of the opinion that the law should stay. Let me most satisfactory and prosperous condition of educaquote several specially significant passages from these tion throughout the State. The past two years have letters.
been years of increased interest, activity, and growth. Judge Traverse, Bloomfield: “ My experience is that, ... The number of school-houses has been increased wherever saloons are closed, crime is diminished.” by about 500, and their aggregate value by more than
Judge Harvey, Leon: “It has reduced crime at least $550,000. The number of teachers is increased by one-half, and the criminal expenses in like ratio." about 500, while our school population is 10,000 greater
Judge Lewis, Sioux City: “The law is as well than the same as reported two years ago." enforced as any other, and has decreased criminal Another index of Iowa's increasing prosperity is expenses at least two-thirds."
the showing made by our savings-banks. The reports Judge Deemer, Red Oak: “In many of the coun. made to our Auditor of State show that the “total assets ties the jail is getting to be almost an unnecessary and liabilities” of Iowa's savings-banks were, in 1883, building, and in the last three counties I visited there $8,419,739.83; in 1885, $9,618,866.97; in 1887, $12,was not an occupant."
666,347.72. Auditor Lyons informs me that on June Judge Carson, Council Bluffs : “When in the sen. 30, 1888, the total assets, etc., of the savings-banks had ate I favored local option, but I am now satisfied the increased to $14,625,024.84. These figures show that statute should stand.”
since the adoption of prohibition the resources of these Judge Thornell, Sidney: “ I should regard its repeal depositories of the poor man's surplus earnings have as a calamity."
increased over six million dollars, or over 73 per cent. Judge Bank, Keokuk : “ This was the first and only
Johnson Brigham. term in my recollection that there was no criminal business transacted in court." Judge Wilson, Creston: “I was not in favor of the
A Tenor Farm. law, thinking that high license would work better. I We are a conservative people in New England and have carefully watched its workings and am convinced there is plenty of idle money among us awaiting safe that I was wrong."
investment. Flaming prospectuses of riotously rich Judge Wakefield, Sioux City: “As the saloons were Western farm lands attract only after insistent itera. driven out, other business came in to occupy the va- tion; even then, I fancy, they draw comparatively few cant places.
of the hoarded dollars which have escaped the depresJudge Wilkinson, Winterset : "Crime and criminal sion in “C. B. and Q." and "Atchison and Topeka." expenses have been lessened.”
I have a plan for using these dollars on a Western Judge Johnson, Oskaloosa : “ The effect of the pro- farm. It is this. Let a company of capitalists buy the hibitory law has been to reduce very materially crime most fertile five hundred acres in Dakota, Kansas, or and criminal expenses in this district.”
Southern California, anywhere thereabouts where land Judge Kavanaugh, Des Moines: “ It has decreased is good and the climate equable. Let them erect there. crime over 50 per cent. and added largely to individual upon a set of dwellings and school-buildings, obeying in happiness."
the process every sanitary law; also gymnasium, theaJudge Granger, Waukon (now of the Supreme ter, and concert-hall. They should thoroughly fence Bench): “ The closing of the front door of the saloon, their property with barbed wire. Now to people it. whereby it is destroyed as a place of social resort, has Let agents be sent throughout the United States in canceled nine-tenths of the drunkenness. Our search of tenor voices, behind which are robust bodies grand juries have comparatively nothing to do. ... and good average minds. Contract with the parents or Our criminal expenses since the closing of the saloons guardians of these voices and bodies for their time and have been comparatively nominal.”
keep for a term of years, say six. After selecting comBut roving correspondents for journals in the large petent agriculturists to run the farm, and a teacher of cities about us inform their readers that prohibition is physical science,- for the farm and the gymnasium killing, or has killed, Iowa. Let us see for ourselves. are to furnish the before-mentioned voices and bodies
The census of 1880 gave our State a population of with healthy, normal, and discreet exercise,- get a good 1,624,615. The State census of 1885 put the population corps of teachers of the voice, who know their business at 1,753,980 – an increase of 129,365. The fact that (alas! alas ! our scheme may fail at this point), another there has been a decided increase in population since to teach music, and set them to the task of developing the last census (in 1885) is shown by comparison of these voices and bodies into manly and beautiful singers. the vote of 1884 with that of 1888. The total vote of It can be done. It will pay a large dividend. Why? Be. Iowa in 1884 was 377,153, while that of 1888 was 404,- cause in this country there is a great cry for tenors. 130; an increase of 26,977—an estimated increase of Twenty oratorio societies, ten societies giving high134,885 in four years.
class instrumental concerts, and scores of vocal clubs Iowa years ago won, and has never since lost, the would keep the product of this tenor farm continually honor of having less illiteracy in proportion to popula. employed eight months out of every twelve, at from two tion than any other State in the Union. But note the hundred dollars to four hundred dollars per individual educational progress she has made during these six per engagement. years of prohibition. In 1883 there were 11,789 school. There is not one great American tenor singer. There houses in Iowa ; in 1884, 11,975; in 1885, 12,285; in is only one in England who is kindred to us on account 1886, 12,444. The value of these school-houses was, in of the language he speaks. Our concert audiences yearn 1883, $10,473,147; in 1886, $11,360,472. State Super- to hear a good tenor. Look at a file of Boston Sym
phony or New York Philharmonic programmes for the number of The CENTURY MAGAZINE, on page 445 season of 1887-88; how many tenors are numbered there is drawn a comparison between the tenants thereon ? One in Boston, where twenty-four concerts of “Out Stills ” in India and an agent over an Irish were given; none in New York. And the Boston estate which is calculated to convey a wrong imsinger was a German! Why is this? Because the right pression of the management of properties in Ireland. kind of tenors do not exist. Scores of puny, pretty, and
The author says: weak voices arise to the parlor and church-quartet state He (viz., the highest bidder] has farmed the job, just of the vocal art, but for some reason go no further. as a man farms the rents of a landlord holding an Irish The great need of the country to-day is tenors. Our estate, and it is his interest to get all the money out of
it he can. tenor farm would easily pay twenty per cent.
Such an arrangement is certainly not the custom in G. H. Wilson.
Ireland ; and even had it been, it would now be imposIrish Estates.
sible to carry it out, since the tenants have the right to
have their rents judicially fixed. In the valuable and interesting article “The Tem
George W. Ruxton, perance Question in India,” published in the July DUBLIN, IRELAND.
J. P. County Louth, Ireland.
When Polly Goes By.
'T - ,
Which is seldom disturbed by the hurry of feet,
BY THE SEA.
Old Salt. “I jes want ter give ye a pointer, young man. With that ther net sot as it is and them durned scoop nets you 're a-handlin' you 'll never catch a fish around yere in a thousand years."
M. E. W.
The Elder Galvanism.
A PARABLE FOR NOVELISTS.
Self, woman, fame, or art,
And galvanize its heart.
Wit, beauty, youth, and flowers :
Reflections. The mischief of opinions formed under irritation is that men feel obliged to maintain them even after the irritation is gone.
VOTES should not be counted, but weighed.
The small writer gives his readers what they wish, the great writer what they want.
To be content with littleness is already a stride towards greatness.
Men are equally misunderstood, from their speech as well as from their silence; but with this difference : their silence does not represent them; their speech misrepresents them.
J. A. Macon.
Dora Read Goodale.