Slike strani

not a ship subsidy another form of a protect- States, duly registered and engaged in the foreign trade ive duty? of the United States, a compensation amounting to one cent per gross registered ton for each one hundred

miles sailed, not exceeding sixteen entries in any one
year, and on each entry, not exceeding sixteen in any
one year, for a period of five years from the date of
registration of a vessel of 1,000 gross tons, which shall
be completed after the

passage of this bill, one
fourth of one cent per
gross ton for each one
hundred nautical miles
sailed, in addition to the
above-mentioned compen-

In obedience to these and similar considerations a ship subsidy bill was passed recently by the senate. But six Republicans voted against it, and only one Democrat voted for it. The opposition to the bill was vigorous, and a majority of the Republican newspapers in the middle west supported this opposition. Even those who accept the principle of the measure are not entirely satisfied with its provisions. It is described as crude, ill-considered, and defective, and it is contended, even by stanch Republicans, that it will not accomplish any of the results intended by its advocates, but, instead, will result in the payment of a pure gratuity to powerful companies already doing a profit

[blocks in formation]


There are minor provisions and various conditions which need not be set forth. The bill will encoun


ter considerable
hostility in the
House of Repre-
sentatives-not Of Massachusetts, successor
only from those who
believe that subsidies

to John D. Long, as Secre-
tary of the Navy.

are improper because they are a species of class legislation, and tax the people at large for the benefit of the few (which the advocates of the system deny), but from those who believe that the merchant marine is growing rapidly enough without government aid; that whole fleets of foreign steamers are coming under American control and only need admission to registry to become formally part of our tonnage; and that subsidies are no longer in harmony with the conditions of international trade and shipping. The question is extremely complicated, and it is being discussed from several points of view. The fate of the bill in the house, at this moment, is rather uncertain.


Cuban Independence Day.

The pledge of the United States to evacuate pacified Cuba and transfer the control of her affairs to the people of the island will be fulfilled on the twentieth day of the present month. All the conditions imposed by the United States have been fully observed by the islanders, and while many Americans profess to doubt their capacity for self-gov


ernment, such doubt is scarcely based on or hasten it. The present session of congress justified by the developments of the last will authorize a treaty of reciprocity with three years. Peace and order have been Cuba whereby, for an equivalent concession, easily maintained by our military government, the Dingley law duties on her sugar and and the Cubans have becn patient, reasonable tobacco will be materially reduced. and willing to accept restrictions utterly reduction may be forty, thirty or twenty incompatible with per cent, but the first thing to settle is the complete nationality principle. The general tariff cannot be enand independence. forced against Cuban goods exported to the President-elect United States. The Platt amendment forbids


Palma will be inaug- this. The president, in his message on urated on the day Cuban affairs, speaks of " the new relations named, the Cuban which have been created by the achievement Congress being of Cuban independence, and which are to be authorized by the broadened and strengthened in every proper constitution to verify way by conventional pacts with the Cubans the returns of the and by wise and beneficent legislation aiming late elections and to stimulate the commerce between the two counmake proper provi- tries, if the great task we accepted in 1898 sion for the installa- is to be fittingly accomplished." There have tion of the executive been delays, factional contests, and strenPresident of the Swiss Con- branch of the gov- uous opposition to the proposed concessions ernment. Coinci- to Cuba, but the outcome was a foregone dently, new diplomatic and consular relations conclusion even at the outset. will be established between Cuba and the United States. This government is to be represented in Cuba by a minister and several consuls.


federation for 1902.

Except in so far as the so-called Platt amendment limits the treaty-making power, the financial powers and other attributes of nationality in Cuba's case, the island is to be independent and foreign to the United States. Strictly speaking, its status will be somewhat anomalous. It will be less autonomous in certain directions than the Dominion of Canada, or the Commonwealth of Australia, yet it is not regarded as a colony or "possession" of the United States. We have practically assumed the rôle of a protector of Cuba, and other nations will be at a loss to determine where sovereignty over Cuba resides.

Ultimately economic interest and political attraction will bring about the annexation of Cuba by the United States. This result may be worked out in the brief space of President Palma's term. On the other hand, it may be postponed for a number of years. Reciprocal trade relations are certain to

Industrial Combinations Today.

Official and privately-secured data have lately been published, which throw considerable light upon the present stage of trust development. The facts and figures are particularly opportune owing to the somewhat remarkable revival of the anti-combination agitation, to which revival reference will be made presently. First, as to the statistics themselves.

According to a census statement, on June 1, 1900, there were 183 industrial combinations in the United States, with a total authorized capitalization of $3,607,539,000, nearly all of which was issued. The total value of the product of these combinations was $1,661,295,364, but from this there had to be subtracted the value of hand trades and neighborhood industries. The product of the combinations proper was found to be equal in the year 1900, to more than 20 per cent of the total gross products of the manufacturing gross products of the country. The plants controlled numbered 2,200, of which 174 were idle in the year named.

The combinations employed an average of for 1899, the first year of the "trust" 399,192 wage-workers, receiving $194,534,515 in wages. The salaried officials numbered 24,585.

boom, and about three times the total for 1900. Several months ago there was not a little talk of the "arrest" of the tendency toward consolidation, and of the striking evidence of the fact that the trust evil was curing itself. Such talk has practically ceased, and the demand for some legislative action is once more loud and widespread. President Roosevelt's recommendation of national anti-trust legislation, the failure and collapse of a few great combinations, and the development of the community-of-interest and ownership plan in the railway sphere are among the causes of this revival of the public agitation.

Corporations manufacturing and distributing gas and electricity are not included in these statistics, for they do not possess the same economic significance as attaches to combinations in competitive industry. They

"natural monopolies," to some extent under public regulation and supervision, and they are gradually being taken over by the municipalities. The various classes of combinations, with the capital invested, are set forth in the census statement as follows:

Iron and steel and their products, $341.779,954 and $508,626; food and allied products, $346,623,633 and $282,408,081; chemicals and allied products, $175,002,887 and $182,391,744; metals and metal products,

other than iron and steel, $118,519,401 and $180,154,703; liquors and beverages, $118,489,158 and $93,432,274; vehicles for land transportation, $85,965,683 and 85,985,533.

Tobacco, $16,191,878 and $74,063,029; textiles, $92,468,606 and $71,888,202; leather and its finished products, $62,744,011 and $45,084,829; paper and printing, $59,271,691 and $44.418,417; clay, glass, and stone products, $46,877,288 and $23,258,182; lumber and its manufactures, $24,470,281 and $20,378,815; miscellaneous industries, $45,408,869 and $48,605,073.

[merged small][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors]

Yet it is generally agreed among Washington observers that congress will do nothing at the present session to give effect to the President's radical anti-trust suggestions. Nor will there be any remission of the duties now levied on commodities manufactured chiefly by combinations. To this method of resisting trusts there is opposition from the independent and weaker corporations, which rightly or wrongly regard high duties as essential to their prosperity. And it is important to note that in 1901 alone the new concerns organized for the purpose of competing with trusts represented a capitalization of $173,650,000. But it can hardly be doubted that public opinion would sustain the attempt to attack combinations in injunction proceedings, in accordance with a suggestion recently made by Judge Thompson of an Illinois circuit court, who holds that, even in the absence of specific statutory legislation combinations may be dissolved by writs of injunction, as being monopolies and restraints of trade and competition.


Confusion in Anti-Trust Legislation.

A decision involving grave and far-reaching consequences is that rendered last month, in an Illinois case, by the United States Supreme Court. The facts in the suit, as the court admitted, clearly established the existence of a combination of

- Cleveland Plain Dealer. monopolistic nature, organized for the pur

competition. Nor was there any doubt of the illegality of the combination under the Illinois anti-trust act, one extremely drastic and sweeping in character. But the court deemed itself constrained to declare the entire act null and void on the sole ground of its repugnance to "equal protection of the laws" guaranteed to all citizens and corporations by the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal constitution.

pose of restraining trade and diminishing congress and the state legislatures to "classify" persons and cities and things, and to legislate for one or more of the classes thus established. "But," says Justice Harlan, "classification must always be based upon some reasonable ground, some natural distinction, and arbitrary selection can never be justified by merely calling it classification. The exemption of farmers and live stock dealers from an anti-trust law did not seem reasonable to the court, and no ground was discoverable for the classification.""


The Illinois act contained a number of sections, and they THE LATE JOHN P. ALTGELD. were all valid, with the exception of the ninth section, which exempted from the provisions of the act and its prohibitions farmers and stock raisers. This exemption invalidated the whole act, for the court reasoned that the legislature would not have entered upon the anti-trust policy therein embodied unless agriculturists and live stock dealers were excluded from its operation. As Justice Harlan said in the prevailing opinion:

The first section of the act here in question embraces by its terms all persons, firms, corporations, or associations of persons who combine their capital, skill or acts for any of the purposes specified, while the ninth section declares that the statute shall not apply to agriculturists or live stock dealers in respect of their products or stock in hand. If the latter section be eliminated as unconstitutional then the act if it stands will apply to agriculturists and live stock dealers. Those classes would in that way be reached and fined, when, evidently, the legislature intended that they should be regarded as not offending against the law even if they did combine their capital, skill, or acts in respect of their products or stock in hand.

Unfortunately, this intent of the Illinois legislature could not be given effect without violence to the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbids special legislation and discrimination. It is true that universality of application cannot be realized in any legislation, and the courts have recognized the right of

It is said that at least fifteen states have anti-trust laws that the logic of this decision would seem to annul. In each of these states the law makes some exception or exceptions generally, farmers and wageworkers being the exempted classes. If all the laws are invalid, the greater part of the manufacturing and populous territory of the United States is without anti-monopoly legislation at the present time. This is a startling reflection! It is, moreover, doubtful whether anti-trust laws applicable to workmen can be passed by any legislature, for under such laws ordinary unions might be attacked as combinations in restraint of trade and competition. The situation is more confused than it ever was.

It is interesting to note that Justice McKenna, in a dissenting opinion concurred in by some of his associates, asserted that the ninth section of the Illinois law was not discriminative or arbitrary. Defending the exemption, he wrote:

The excluded class is composed of farmers and stock raisers, while holding the products or live stock produced by them. The included class is composed of merchants, traders, manufacturers - all engaged in commercial transactions. That is, one is composed of persons who are scattered on farms, the other class is composed of persons congregated in cities and towns not only of natural persons, but of corporate organizations. In the difference of these situations and in other differences, which will occur on any reflection, might not the legislature see differences in opportunities and powers between the classes in regard to the prohibited acts?

There is force in this suggestion, but it would not cover the case of organized workmen, who are "congregated in cities and towns. No wonder the unions and their


[ocr errors]

wiser leaders have never clamored for rigid sively with these questions are now pending, and drastic anti-trust legislation !

but congress has not sufficiently studied the latter, and no early changes in the existing laws are expected.

Railways and the Law.

There is talk of a "crisis" in the railway industry of the country as the result of the announced determination of the administration to put new life into the interstate commerce law and the Sherman anti-trust law. The suit against the northwestern" merger" startled the community of interest" elements, but when this was immediately followed by a dozen injunction suits, under the direction of the Attorney-General, against railroads centering in Chicago or in Kansas City, astonishment was superadded to displeasure. The laws named had long been treated as dead letters, and the Interstate Commerce Commission had virtually declared them to be futile and unenforceable. But President Roosevelt is evidently of the opinion that an honest effort to enforce a law is the only way of testing it and discovering its defects and weaknesses. His policy with regard to the railways is now generally understood. It is for congress to decide whether the demand of the commission for increased power and the control of ratemaking is a proper one or not, just as it is for congress to determine the wisdom of legalizing railroad pools and agreements to divide traffic and earnings, and maintain uniform rates. Bills dealing comprehen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

It is a truism that corporations are as amenable to the law as individual citizens, and that neither the executive nor the judiciary is authorized to relieve any special interest from burdensome legislation. The railroad companies are represented as extremely displeased with the president's action and accusing him of needlessly disturbing business. business conducted in violation of law can hardly claim immunity from disturbance, and the president would be guilty of neglect and betrayal of his trust were he to countenance illegal and detrimental practises on the part of the railroads.



So far only preliminary injunctions have been issued by the district judges at Chicago and Kansas City. There will be full hearings in June, and questions of law as well as of fact will doubtless be argued. These cases cannot fail to direct general attention to the great question of railway regulation.

[ocr errors]

Temperance and Philanthropic Saloons. The friends of temperance are studying with lively interest a new plan for controlling and checking the liquor evil. It is on trial in Great Britain, where it has produced gratifying results, and it may be

attempted in American cities. Earl Grey, one of the unselfish promoters of this reform, has explained its principles and features in recent gatherings in the United States. The plan may be thus briefly set forth:

A certain number of persons earnestly desirous of combating the saloon, form an association for the purpose of purchasing as many saloons as possible and radically changing the methods of running them. Manage

- Cleveland Plain Dealer. ment is completely divorced

« PrejšnjaNaprej »