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December 15, 1900
When the Senate met we believe to be economically unsound, Congress: The Ship on Tuesday of last week and we think that our present enormous Subsidy Debate
the unfinished business exportation of manufactures and produce before it from the last session was Senator completely disproves the old fallacy that Spooner's bill relating to the government American labor is dearer in proportion to of the Philippines. This, however, was what it accomplishes than the labor of set aside, and the Ship Subsidy Bill ad- other countries. But the economic side vanced to take its place. Senator Jones, of the question is the least important. We of Arkansas, demanded the yeas and nays oppose the subsidy bill, first, because it upon this change in the programme, and opens the door to lobbying for special the vote then recorded was looked upon as interests, and is therefore demoralizing; in some measure a test of the strength of and, second, because it taxes certain classes the subsidy bill. It stood 38 to 20 in favor to subsidize others, and is therefore unjust. of giving the subsidy bill the right of way. The Democrats and Populists voted solidly in the negative, but Senator Wellington, of
The Army Bill as it passed
The Army Bill Maryland, was the only Gold Republican
the House of Representato join them. As Senator Wellington had tives, by a vote of 160 to 133, did not supported Mr. Bryan in the recent cam- differ materially in its provisions as to the paign on the issue of imperialism, his increase of the army from the outline given vote against the subsidy bill was not in these columns last week; the most altogether unexpected. Senator Frye, of important provision not included in our Maine, assumed charge of the bill, and description of last week was the canteen made the principal argument in its behalf. amendment proposed by Mr. Littlefield, He urged that the bill would not cost the of Maine, and incorporated in the bill by treasury all of the $9,000,000 a year pro- a vote of 159 to 51. This amendment posed as a subsidy, because the subsidized absolutely prohibits the sale of intoxicants ships would be required to carry mail free at military posts. It reads as follows: and thus save the Government upwards of The sale of or dealing in beer, wine, or any one million dollars a year. He further intoxicating liquors by any person in any post urged that the bill would be of immense exchange or canteen, or army transport, or advantage to the Government in time of by the United States, is hereby prohibited. war, by building up a merchant marine The Secretary of War is hereby directed to which could be used for auxiliary cruisers carry the provisions of this section into full and transports. His chief argument, how- force and effect. ever, related to the supposed economic This is certainly a more positive and advantages which the measure would bring, direct prohibition of the canteen than that not only to shipowners and ship-builders, contained in the Act of Congress approved but to all who produced goods for export. last March and rendered ineffective by It costs, he explained, from forty to eighty the decision of Attorney-General Griggs. per cent. more to operate American ships The wording of the old law was that "ro than to operate British or Norwegian ships, officer or private soldier shall be detailed and he believed that money should be taken to sell intoxicating drinks, as a bartender from the public treasury to make it profit- or otherwise, in any post exchange or able for Americans to engage in this losing canteen, nor shall any other person be business. This last argument is one which required or allowed to sell such liquors in any encampment or fort, or on any premises of one cent a pound; but as nearly all used for military purposes by the United dealers would find uncolored oleomargaStates.” In the course of the debate on the rine unsalable for table use, the nominal Army Bill, Mr. McCall, a Republican Rep- reduction of the tax on the uncolored resentative from Massachusetts, put him- product is not deemed important. Mr. self on record as definitely and positively Grout, of Vermont, and the other chamopposed to the policy of the Administration pions of the bill urged that it ought to be in the Philippines, and to the increase in passed to prevent fraud, and they showed the army demanded to carry on war in that that oleomargarine is now being sold in part of the world. The question of pro stamped packages with the stamp so conmotion and of the placing of volunteer cealed as to escape the notice of ordinary officers in the regular army was left in a purchasers. Mr. Grout reported that the somewhat indefinite position by the bill, amount of oleomargarine sold last year but the very doubtful provision abolishing was 104,000,000 pounds, or about “onethe age-limit for lieutenants was retained. ninth of the total butter consumption of President McKinley has placed General the country.” The opponents of the bill Eagan on the retired list, on three-quarters urged the adoption of a substitute prepay for life, after having remitted the pared by the minority of the Committee unexpired portion of the court-martial on Agriculture, making more effective sentence of six years' suspension.
the safeguards against the sale of oleomargarine as butter. The minority of
the Committee, said its Chairman, Mr. We regard the abolition of the Wadsworth, of New York, was as anxious The Canteen canteen as a measure intended
as the majority to prevent the fraudulent to promote temperance but certain to pro- sale of oleomargarine as butter, but it mote intemperance. Where the canteen recognized the value of oleomargarine as has been abolished, the general result has a wholesome article of food, and did not been a collection of the worst groggeries believe in taxing one American industry in the immediate vicinity of the camp and to make a market for another. Mr. Bailey, a great increase in the number of drunken of Texas, declared that the avowed pursoldiers. A club in which only beer and pose of the bill to prevent fraud was itself light wines are allowed to be sold, and a fraud. The substitute was defeated by these under government restrictions, and a vote of 113 to 178, and the Grout bill in which drunkenness is distinctly recog. passed by a vote of 196 to 92. Nearly nized as bad form, and disorder is a penal all the votes against the bill were cast by offense, is surely better than a collection Democrats. There appears to us but of saloons in which private interest is
one argument against the bill-a doubt aroused to stimulate drinking to the utter- whether the taxing power of the Governmost, in which drunkenness is common ment should be used for any other purand disorder not unusual, and in which pose than raising revenues. If it ever there are and can be no restrictions.
may be so used, it would be to prevent a The Outlook hopes that the Senate will wholesale fraud on the people, and the not pass the anti-canteen provision with sale of oleomargarine as butter is such a out giving careful consideration to the fraud. Otherwise why color it at all ? judgment of army men on its probable effect.
In his annual report
The Treasury Report
the most important The Oleomargarine Bill
bill, the most impor- reform urged by Mr. Gage, Secretary of tant measure passed by the House of the Treasury, is that of legislation making Representatives last week was the Grout mandatory under all circumstances the bill increasing the tax on oleomargarine provisions for preserving the parity befrom two cents a pound to ten cents. tween gold and silver. We hope that This increase is, indeed, limited to oleo- such legislation will be an accomplished margarine colored so as to look like fact long before another Presidential elecbutter, and the tax on uncolored oleomar- tion disturbs the country. Mr. Gage also garine is by the bill reduced to one-half hints at such a revision of the present
law as will give greater elasticity to the as follows: Beer, $10,000,000; cigars, National bank circulation. Under the law $3,000,000; bank checks, $7,000,000 ; passed last March, the total increase in telegrams and express receipts, $3,000,that circulation has been over seventy- 000; notes and mortgages, $4,000,000; seven million dollars. Since the new law insurance, $3,000,000; patent medicines authorizing the establishment of National and drugs, $4,000,000; miscellaneous, banks with a capital as low as twenty-five $6,000,000. The Democratic members thousand dollars, nearly four hundred new of the Committee urged a still larger rebanks have been organized, of which duction upon most of the items, including number three-eighths represent each a beer-their claim being that the large surcapital of less than fifty thousand dollars. plus promoted extravagance, particularly The benefit of National banks is thus for military preparations. While there is given to many communities unable to some force in this contention, they would maintain such institutions under the old be more consistent with their free-trade law, which did not permit the establish- principles if they protested against rement of National banks with a capital ducing the internal revenue taxes upon under fifty thousand dollars. The report luxuries and demanded a general revision is explicit relative to the refunding pro- of the tariff on necessities. Last year the visions of the new act, which have resulted internal revenue receipts—$295,000,000 in the exchange of over three hundred -were nearly treble what they were at and fifty million dollars' worth of three, the beginning of the decade, and aggrefour, and five per cent. Government bonds gated more than the entire net annual for the new two per cents of 1930. The expenditures of the Government in any operations of the act have exemplified its year but one between 1870 and 1890. If wisdom in that gold now flows towards to the internal revenue receipts are added the Treasury instead of away from it. the miscellaneous receipts from coinage, The free gold in that institution at the fees, etc., and the taxes on imported liquors present time is larger in amount than at and tobacco, which might properly be made any former period of our history. Includ. a part of our internal revenue system, there ing the new reserve, the gold in the results an aggregate of $350,000,000 revTreasury belonging to the Government enue independent of the tariff. If the amounts to nearly two hundred and fifty Democrats desire to establish a free-trade million dollars, while the Treasury holds system in the near future, they ought to besides almost as much more against insist that the reductions now made in which certificates have been issued. taxation shall be chiefly upon imported
food products such as sugar and tea.
The Ways and Means ComTax Reduction mittee of the House of
The Isthmian Canal Proposals
The Isthmian Canal
Commission's report lated its bill for reducing the surplus has been made public. It approves the revenue. The prospective surplus, as Nicaragua route as, all things considered, estimated by Secretary Gage, is in the the best. It estimates the cost at $200, neighborhood of $80,000,000, and about 540,000, an increase above any previous half this sum could be used in the pur- estimate. But this increase is due to the chase of bonds if the provisions of the judgment of the Commission that the sinking fund act were again given effect. canal, in order to meet the exigencies of For this and other reasons the Secretary future maritime commerce, must be made recommended that taxes should be reduced larger and deeper than originally planned. only $30,000,000. The House Committee, The cost would exceed that of the Panama however, has recommended a reduction of Canal by about $58,000,000. The Nica$40,000,000,-claiming that the revenues ragua Canal would also be considerably warrant such a reduction, and that public longer, the average time required for a sentiment demands it. All of the pro- vessel to pass through the Panama Canal posed reductions are in the internal being estimated at twelve hours; for the revenue taxes imposed in the War Rev. Nicaragua Canal, thirty-three hours. The enue Act of 1898. The chief items are reasons which lead the Commission to prefer the Nicaragua to the Panama route needs its great harbors, and it should are chiefly two. First, the distance from build the highway and own it, exactly as the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast is it should improve and maintain the naviconsiderably less by the Nicaragua route; gable quality of the Mississippi River. from San Francisco to New York, 377 What The Outlook hopes to see, what miles less, to New Orleans 579 miles the interests of the Nation imperatively less, to Liverpool 386 miles less. The demand, is the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty time required to pass over these distances confirmed, the neutrality of the canal thus would be greater than the difference of secured by international treaty, and the time in transit through the two canals. canal itself then built, owned, and operBut, secondly, even if the Panama Canal ated by the United States Government, furnished a decidedly superior route, it is as a necessary connecting link between apparently clear from the Commission's its eastern and its western coast. report that it is and must be private property. “So far as can be ascertained, the (Panama) Company is not willing to sell
Just after the recent elecits franchise, but it will allow the United
The Election in tion in Porto Rico of mem
Porto Rico States to become the owner of part of its
bers of the island's first stock." The Commission justly considers legislative assembly under United States such an arrangement inadmissible; but, rule, we noted the extraordinary fact that more than this, even if the Panama Canal the Federal party had abstained altogether Company would sell its franchise, that from going to the polls, allowing the Refranchise is not permanent. The conces publicans to win without opposition, and sion of the Government of Colombia to the almost equally remarkable fact that the Panama Company is limited. It pro- the accounts of the election that had vides that the canal shall pass to Colom- reached this country gave no adequate bia after ninety-nine years. Thus, even explanation of this withdrawal. In reif arrangements could be made with the sponse to a request from The Outlook for Panama Company to purchase the prop- information, we have received a detailed erty outright, it still would not be a per- statement of Porto Rican polịtical affairs manent United States waterway. In gup from Judge William H. Hunt, the Secrejudgment, the Commission is right in tary of Porto Rico. The legislative funcregarding this as a conclusive objection tion was intrusted to an Executive Counto the Panama route. The question cil of eleven appointed by the President, whether the interoceanic canal shall be a and a House of Delegates of thirty-five, private piece of property like the Pacific to be elected biennially. Judge Hunt says Railroad, or a great National highway that, under the act of Congress, the Execulike the Mississippi River, is a funda- tive Council was intrusted with power to mental question. On this question both divide the island into seven districts of the great parties have declared them- about equal population, each of which selves, They both favor a National should elect five members of the House highway under the ownership, control, of Delegates. This power was delegated and protection of the Government of to a committee of five-two Repubthe United States. To this policy the licans, two Federals, and an Independent. Republican party has distinctly pledged The last proposed a plan which was itself. It would be neither right nor accepted by the two Republicans and politic to withdraw from the fulfillment of adopted by the Council. Thereupon the this pledge. It is said that the Panama two Federal members resigned from the Company has secured, or expects to secure, Council, and their party papers declared the funds necessary to complete that canal. that it was a Porto Rican custom to thus This is no reason why the United States withdraw when injustice was alleged-a should not go on and build independently custom agreeable to themselves and comits own great highway between the oceans. porțing with their notions of dignity. The It is a matter of only secondary impor- Federal party, however, entered into the tance whether the tonnage ever pays the election with apparent spirit at first. The interest on the cost of construction or not, qualifications for suffrage were; bopa-fide The Nation needs the highway just as it residence in the island for a year and in
the district for six months, together with has under cultivation only a quarter of its either ability to read and write or owner- two million acres. This year the sugar ship of real estate or of personal property crop will be double the average normal to the value of twenty-five dollars. The crop, and the tariff gives the sugar-prototal registration was 123,140, and it was ducer a great advantage over his former believed that the Republicans were in the trade-relation with the United States; while majority. Both parties filed numerous a system of inexpensive driven wells in protests against alleged irregularities in the southern districts has there greatly registration, often, Judge Hunt tells us, increased the possibilities of cane cultivafrivolous and vague. Out of 657 judges tion, and improved methods of extraction of registration 622 were Porto Ricans. are increasing the yield immensely. The Before the registration was finished the coffee estates are recovering from the blow Federals threatened to withdraw from the dealt by the hurricane of 1898, and the polls, and on November 4 their leader or yield will by next year be normal-for
President ”formally notified the Executive merly coffee furnished seven-tenths of the Council that the party withdrew its tickets revenue of the island. Fruit culture is in “ because of the lack of protection for our a hopeful experimental stage. The cusright to vote and the manifest partiality toms receipts have risen from $1,505 in of the Council in favor of the Republican the first week of May to $43,439 in the party."
The Republicans cast 58,367 second week of November. Receipts votes, which, under the circumstances, have more than paid for expenses. Of indicates that they would have had a the two million dollars allotted by the fairly large majority if the contest had President for the benefit of Porto Rico been fought out. There was no serious under the “Customs Refunding Act," only trouble anywhere at the polls on elec- half has been spent-three-quarters of a tion day. The acquiescence of the rank million for good roads, one-quarter for and file of the Federal party in these curi- food supplies; thus a balance of a million ous political tactics may have been due remains for permanent improvements. partly to the belief that in the end a reac- Education is being provided for both in tion would break the power of a single the towns and the rural districts. Govleader who dictatorially directed the party. ernor Allen is sure that there is less destiAt this distance the whole affair seems to tution in Porto Rico than ever before; indicate that the people of Porto Rico while more people are employed and at have much to learn about the desirable better wages. It is true that personal relations between a majority and a mi politics, the conservatism of the well-to-do nority and the true character of repre- people who favored Spanish rule, and the sentative government. Pique rather than ignorance of the masses after centuries of persistence seems to have controlled the neglect by Spanish rulers, all make the minority; in politics as in sport, to be a problems of development such as require good-natured loser is next to being a patience; but there is ample evidence that winner.
the present administration of the island is
making sure and steady progress in educaProgress in Porto Rico
Of greater substan- tional as well as industrial matters.
tial importance is the news of rapid commercial and civil progress in Porto Rico which reaches us in a
Both in Cuba and the
The Cuban Convention private letter and with the highest possible
Philippines within the official indorsement. December 15 was last ten days there have been indicathe day fixed for the end of military rule tions of improvement in the prospect of and the entering of a fully organized civil future representative government. The government into complete power. This Cuban Constitutional Convention has civil government has been working in now fairly begun the important work of conjunction with the Military Department actually examining and discussing drafts since May 1 of this year, and has not cost of a Constitution. Three complete drafts the people of the United States a penny. have been submitted to the Convention ; The island itself is free from debt and has all of these follow the Constitution of the a valuation of perhaps $100,000,000. It United States in its general outline, and