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THE RAILWAY PROBLEM
permanent international tribunal. The threat refuse. There is no press gang in America. of a great railway war, even if a temporary But if he enlists and deserts in time of peace, peace is patched up, should lead American he is imprisoned ; if he deserts in time of statesmen to study how they may establish an war, he is liable to be shot.
A man may industrial court to which the claims of con- marry or not marry, as he will; but if he tending parties can be submitted and the marries he cannot desert his wife when he decisions of which can be enforced as the gets tired of her. The law will compel him decisions of other courts are enforced.
The to fulfill his contract and give her support, first step-it might prove the final step- and if he refuses to fulfill his contract and we outlined in The Outlook of August 23. give her support the law will put him in This would be the organization of a court prison. Nor is he left free to decide what whose duty it would be to familiarize itself support he will give her ; the court decides with industrial conditions, and whose right it that for him. If a contractor contracts to would be, on the complaint of any party or build a road or put up a building, he cannot, without waiting for a complaint, to investi- when the work is half done, abandon it begate industrial conditions in any corporation cause it does not pay; the court will mulct on whose peaceful and efficient operation him in damages if he fails to fulfill his conthe welfare of the community depends. To tract, and in some cases the court will require this court should be given power to subpæna specific performance of the contract and and examine witnesses and require the pro- punish with fine or imprisonment the failure duction of books and papers and to prepare to perform it. Collective bargaining has in and publish the results of its investigation organized labor taken the place of individual with its judgment thereon. It is possible that bargaining. A few leaders acting for thousuch official publication would create a public sands of workingmen agree for them on what opinion sufficient to compel acquiescence in its terms the workingmen will do their work. It conclusions. When the Supreme Court of would be quite in accordance with the princithe United States decided that an income ples of Anglo-Saxon justice that those who tax was Constitutional, the citizens began make such a bargain should be compelled to preparations to pay the tax ; when the Su- see it fulfilled, and that if they enter into a preme Court changed its mind and decided conspiracy to prevent the fulfillment of the that the income tax was unconstitutional, bargain they should be regarded as criminals the citizens stopped paying the tax, and those and treated accordingly. who had paid received their money back. In It would be grossly unjust to prevent or this country, for the great mass of citizens, punish a strike if workingmen were left withpublic opinion is all the power needed to out any other means of redress for their enforce law.
wrongs; but it would not be unjust to preIf in the case of railways and other public vent or punish a strike it an impartial tribunal service corporations public opinion should not were established to which they could appeal be sufficient, the next step should be taken ; for justice and which would be clothed with the decision of the court should be enforced by power to compel justice to be done to them. the full power of the Nation. It would be It would be intolerable to give the railway easy to enforce the decisions of such a tri
managers autocratic power to determine bunal on the corporation, for it could be put whether or not they will operate their railinto the hands of a receiver exactly as it is ways. It is equally intolerable to give that put into the hands of a receiver if it refuses autocratic power to the railway employees. or fails to pay its debts. But how, it is The railways are the public highways of the asked, could the decisions of such a tribunal Nation, the railway managers and the rail. be enforced against. a labor union ? I way employees are alike the servants of the reply, by the same process by which the ful- Nation, and it is for the Nation to determine filment of other contracts is enforced in by a properly constituted tribunal on what courts of law.
terms and conditions the railways shall be Freedom of contract does not mean that I hope that before this issue of The parties are free to keep or to annul their con- Outlook reaches its readers Congress will tracts as they please. It simply means that have worked out some scheme by which the they are free to make or not make them. present threatened railway war But when they are made they must be kept. avoided. Even if that is done, it will still A citizen is free to enlist in the navy or remain the duty of the American people to
work out some scheme by which the peril of bought two expensive new silos, expressed a such a railway war may be prevented in the fervent hope that they would not die, was only future.
one of a legion of well-intentioned blunderers I see but two alternatives to the plan in country districts. The farmer who inabove outlined :
stinctively resents advice from such outsiders 1. Compulsory profit-sharing; a law regu. can cite many instances to justify his thought lating the maximum dividend a railway may and attitude. pay to the owners; a law regulating through We confess that, despite all this, we are a commission the hours and conditions of still persuaded that Mr. Theiss is only too labor ; and a law compelling a division be- accurate in his belief concerning the prevatween the owners and the employees of all lence of superstition upon the farm. We profits above a reasonable dividend and a say this without any effort to contradict those reasonable wage.
of our correspondents who contend that an 2. Government ownership and operation. equal amount of superstition is prevalent in LYMAN ABBOTT. our towns and cities. And it is extremely
probable that the superstitions, both urban
and rural, which have endured for at least AN ATTACK ON THE MOON
two thousand years, through all the varying
changes of government and religion that have The Outlook in its issue of August 16 taken place in that interval, will continue to published an article on “ The Moon and the dwell in our land long after Mr. Theiss and High Cost of Living” from the pen of Mr. his critics have passed beyond the realm of Lewis Edwin Theiss. In this article Mr. journalistic controversy. Theiss attempted to discuss with good na- Mr. Theiss in his article refers to those who tured concern the effect of superstition upon have been unable or unwilling to profit by the American farming.
so-called new science of agriculture as men Apparently many of our readers have curi- with “granitic mind." He tells how these ously misinterpreted his article as an attack men of “granitic mind” borrow their ideas upon American farming in general and upon from their fathers, and how these ideas have the farmers of Pennsylvania in particular. in each generation set as hard as plaster of We can answer for Mr. Theiss that nothing paris. We wonder whether in writing this was further from his mind nor from the minds Mr. Theiss realized that this same problem of the editors of The Outlook when they of the ancestral incubus confronted the farmpublished his discourse upon the unregener- ers of the Roman Empire as directly as it does ate moon.
our American citizens to-day. The criticisms of Mr. Theiss's article which "I observe a practice which I learned have come to us can be divided perhaps into from my father,' said Agrasius, not only three classes. The authors of many of these never to shear my sheep, but not even to have letters seem to resent Mr. Theiss's comments my own hair cut, on the decrease of the as those of the “superior" city man ventur- moon, for fear that I might become bald.?" ing in unfamiliar fields; others seem to be of So speaks a character in Varro's - Rerum the impression that the superior country Rusticarum.” We are quoting from “ A folk have been frankly pulling Mr. Theiss's Virginia Farmer's " delightful volume urban legs, doling out to him tales of super- " Roman Farm Management”—an annotated stitious beliefs in a laudable attempt to hoax translation of the agricultural treatises of a newcomer in things agricultural. Still a Cato and of l'arro. Now l'arro in much of third class writes in the defense of the un- his advice concerning farming is a modern of attacked farmer by declaring that the same moderns. In the preparation of seed-beds kind of superstitions of which Mr. Theiss and the application of the practice of " green complains can be found with as great a fre- manuring " he could teach much to many of quency along Broadway as in the byway's of our present-day farmers ; but, like the men of the back country.
whom Mr. Theiss has complained, he also was Now the city man who ventures upon a subject to the delusions of moon power. He farm is quite as fair game for satire and fun wrote.(we are still quoting from the translaas any other human being who invades a new tion by - I Virginia Farmer') : The lunar field of industry. The city man who, when seasons also must be considered. They are informed that his country neighbor had divided into two terms, that from the new
"HIS SUPERFLUOUS EXCELLENCY"
village had become dry, and here was an attempt to make good the loss by the aid of the god Thor. These men were seeking water with a divining-rod.
We wish it could be said that this modern survival of an ancient lightning myth was the only superstitious remnant adhering to our modern civilization. Until the time comes when it is unnecessary for such excellent agricultural papers as the “Rural New Yorker" or the Progressive Farmer patiently to explain to some of their readers the folly of farming by the moon, and until our city dwellers cease to shiver at the thought of a broken mirror or of thirteen at table, it will be difficult for any part of our country wholly to free itself from the charge of superstition. Such an educational process as Mr. Theiss asked for in his article on “ The Moon and the High Cost of Living is the only solution that exists for this distinctly superfluous problem. A discussion of the percentage of superstition among farmers is no more in vidious criticism than the discussion of the percentage of farmers having blu
eyes and brown hair. We have all sinned together in prolonging these curious survivals of a darker faith and an older time.
moon to the full, and that from the full moon to the new moon. . . Some agricultural operations may be undertaken with more advantage during the increase of the moon, others during the decrease, as, for example, the harvest or cutting of wood.” In commenting upon this passage,
“ A Virginia Farmer" writes :
The rural confidence in the influence of the moon upon the life of a farm still persists vigorously ; thus, as Pliny counseled that one wean a colt only when the moon is on the wane, so it will be found that the moon is consulted before a colt is weaned on most American farms to-day; for that may be safely done, says the rural oracle, only when the moon's sign, as given in the almanack, corresponds with a part of the almanack's "moon's man or “anatomie " at or below the knees, i. e., when the moon is in one or the other of the signs Pisces, Capri. cornus, or Aquarius; but never at a time of day when the moon is in its "Southing."
Surely this is unprejudiced testimony from a writer whose every word betrays a scholarly familiarity with both the theory and the practice of farming.
There is another superstition, to desert the moon for a minute, as ancient in lineage as any having reference to the progress of Diana, which Mr. Theiss might have cited in his indictment of the granitic mind. We should not be at all surprised to learn that a belief in this curious survival tentatively exists even among some readers of The Outlook who have been no nearer the country than their corner grocery store. An instance of its very lively existence has been well described by John Fiske in his “Myths and Myth-Makers :"
An elderly man was moving slowly up and down the road, holding with both hands a forked twig of hazel, shaped like the letter Y inverted. With his palms turned upward, he held in each hand a branch of the twig in such a way that the shank pointed upward; but every few moments, as he halted over a certain spot, the twig would gradually bend downwards until it had assumed the likeness of a Y in its natural position, where it would remain pointing to something in the ground beneath. One by one the bystanders proceeded to try the experiment, but with no variation in the result. Something in the ground seemed to fascinate the bit of hazel, for it could not pass over that spot without bending down and pointing to it.
My thoughts reverted at once to Jacques Aymar and Dousterswivel, as I perceived that these men were engaged in sorcery. During the long drought more than half the wells in the
“HIS SUPERFLUOUS EXCEL
LENCY” James Bryce in his “ American Commonwealth” dubs the American Vice-President * His Superfluous Excellency.” Perhaps if the office could be made more useful and less ornamental we would have a less dim memory of some Vice-Presidents and of many candidates for the office.
How many of our readers, for instance, can offhand say in what year and with what “running mates” the following gentlemen ran for Vice-President—they all ran within thirty-six years and on Republican
Democratic tickets: Henry G. Davis, John W. Kern, Nicholas M. Butler, Arthur Sewall, Whitelaw Reid, W. H. English, John A. Logan?
Before the political conventions of this summer The Outlook, under the title “ Hit or Miss," gently pointed out that it might be worth while to spend a little time, thought, and care in selecting candidates for the VicePresidency, and that it was unwise for a party to stake its political all on the life of one man. This editorial adjuration had just about as
much influence as we expected it to have- gress. Perhaps college debating societies none. The conventions may have selected might take up the important question, How the best “ timber" possible, but it is certain shall we make our Vice-Presidents useful as that they neither talked nor struggled much well as ornamental ? over the job. And, with all possible respect One agreeable echo of our “ Hit or Miss” for the excellent personal character of the editorial came all the way from Honolulu. two candidates and hope as to their latent Our Hawaiian contemporary, the “ Commerabilities, it is safe to say that only a corporal's cial Advertiser," prints a sound and vigorous guard would vote for either as President. editorial and historical review of the subject, And yet five elected Vice-Presidents have quoting especially from Bryce's exposition of served as President, and more doubtless will the insignificance of the Vice-President as so serve.
compared with the importance of the Speaker A newspaper paragrapher, commenting on of the lower house. We quote the comment our remark that the Vice-Presidency is not a of the Hawaiian paper : joke, says that some Vice-Presidents have
The true secret of this difference in place made it so. Rather, one feels, the reason lies
between these two presiding officers, it is venin the American happy-go-lucky way of looking tured to suggest, lies in the fact that the ablest at things not of instant importance, together men, real leaders, such as Carlisle and Tom Reed with the fact that, as a Vice-President rarely and Blaine and Roger Q. Mills, are invariably has anything to do except to preside with dig. chosen as Speakers, while neither the political nity over the urbane Senate, he is usually even
leaders nor the ablest men in the parties are more out of the Presidential running when he :
invariably chosen as Vice-Presidents. has served his term than he was before. It We heartily indorse the conclusion drawn : has been proposed to make the Vice-Presi- “ There is no politics in this matter ; it is dent a member of the Cabinet or an official above politics, and should interest every one representative of the Administration in Con- regardless of his politics."
THE RAILWAY CONTROVERSY: ITS
EFORE these lines can reach our read- almost organic union. In a general railway ers the country will either be plunged strike to-day all conductors, trainmen, engi
into what we believe will prove to be neers, or firemen who are members of their nearly as serious a condition as that of civil respective unions, whether they run passenwar, or President Wilson will have succeeded in ger trains or freight trains, will be called out. averting that war by persuading the contend- Many people seem to be of the impression ing parties to yield as to some of their demands that the strike is simply to be a freight strike. and to submit others to arbitration. We re- This is a mistake. The leader of one of the ported last week how this controversy arose. unions was quite correct in his facts when For at least a year the four great railway he said, as reported, that an effective strike trade unions----namely, the engineers, the fire- would stop every railway wheel in the country. men, the trainmen and brakemen, and the The President originally proposed, as we conductors—have been making demands upon reported last week, that the men be paid the railway managers for certain increases of upon an eight-hour basis instead of a tenpay and certain modifications of conditions of hour basis, and that the other elements of work. The two parties could not agree, and the discussion be submitted to arbitration. the railway unions threatened to strike. The The railway managers declined this proposal, railway unions are now stronger than they asserting that every question at issue should have ever before been in their existence. be submitted to arbitration. The men reFormerly the unions acted independently plied that, as they had been at work for one although sympathetically in labor controver- year while asking for improved conditions and sies.
The sympathetic affiliation of the four increased pay, they were not willing to leave groups of wage-earners employed in oper- the question of pay on an eight-hour day ating trains has now been changed into an (Continue ton page following illustrations)