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v 1 oil rUJ V OUA-Ji t ' VOL. i. MERIDEN, KAN'., FRIDAY, NOVDIHliR 22, 1889! N0i6 this iikijfcommni; laid iiaiik. Wo copy tho following from tho Kansas Farmer: Tho Now York Pre ono of tho lend ing and most reliable papers in tho Fast, recently laid open tho beef com bine. Wo make a fow extracts, as wo find them arranged iu tho Iowa Ifonw ftkad. Tho i'rew shows how tho tiling in working at that end o( tho lino a Well as this. Wo quote: It U a startling statement to mako, and yet it is ono which facta and fig ures und environment load up to as a logical conclusion, that a loof oom Mno stares this country in tho face, With present causen and conditions remaining in unchecked operation, it will not lo more than two years be fore tho pvico of hoof vill lio forced up, and the rise will continue until, for tho poor man, boof will have boon transferred from tho list of ttoewsitios to that of luxuries and pork, and imilton, tOOy for that matter, if 111 fol low in its wake, although at an inter val. A serious if nob dangerous condi tion of affairs in pending in the loef market, it in not necessary to enter in to diatrilrowf denunciation in treating of tho subject, far ft presentation of tho more facti together with ati anal ysis of tho situation is enough to set miy person to thinking seriously of tho situation and of tho iossibility of averting thw natural noquonco of tho Operation of tho present elements en tering into tho question. Tho main natural factors nt work on tho question of tho, beef supply are three. Thoso are, first, tho source of tho supply, which in essential measure is tho great cattlo rango of tho West; second, tho area of land ndaptkl for tho ranges, excluding tho question of artificial feeding and housing of catth;; third, tho increase of population of tho country. But abovo and beyond and 'permo nting, thoso natural factors in the laws of trade and of supply and do ruand there is an artificial factor en tering which control tho wholo ques tion, and if allowed to continue its op orations in tho future as it has in the past, and is doing at present, without check in tho form of competition, will soon reach its If gitimato climax in tho ruin of tho rango cattlo business, an oxoibitant enhancement in the prices of boof, and ultimately and absolute ly beof famine. This factor is tho 'Big Four" monopoly of Chicago. Tho voluo of cattle has been forced down by tho groat combination which now practically controls tho meat sup ply of 05,000,000 of people, from an avoraga for tho whole country of $33. 53 per head in 1884 to $17.05 in 1883. "This loss tho cattlo growers of the country havo been obliged to stand. But havo tho people benefitted? That i i tho question. Tho Press 13 obliged to answer in thonogntivp, for tho prico rk;f bo'brv jrenpned fttalicnry., jfi2 money has gone into tho pockets of tho "Big Four," who now control tho principle avenues Chicago, St Louis Omaha and Kansas City through which tho meat uupply is forced to flow in order to reach tho Eastern markets. - Tho prime factor in this widespread disaster to tho cattlemen is tho re Htrictod market, not which they havo voluntarily selected, but which they havo been forced into by a combina tion of circumctanccs , beyond their control. It is significant that while th price of cattlo has thus boon going down tho prico of beof to tho consum er has remained osnontially stationary in these years, and how and why this is so ig an interesting question in po lititml economy. It is well known that a diamond in I a donort hart no value. It becomes valuable only when it has n market. And if there woro only one person to buy it in other words, if the market woro as restricted as possible--tho jewel would go for a song. And ho with tho cattlo product of tho west en. ranges. They havo had now for five years virtually only ono market, with no competitor in it. That mar ! ket is tho "Big Four" at Chicago, with ramifications at St. Louis, Kan sas City and Omaha. Everybody is familter with their operations, yet a cursory reviow of these may not bo out of place in order to bring into clear light tho significance of the da ta which are to bo used. Ah long as tho cattlemen could pour their attlo into an untrammeled markot, whoro competition gave life to trade, they mado a profit whilo at tho samo timo they supplied tho market with tho very articlo which was in do mand. Tho Messrs. Armour, Swift, Morris and Hammond, who constitute tho "Big Four" saw a magnificent op portunity for themselves, and, like tho loaders, whether in war or finance or diplomacy, thoy proceeded to avail thomselvos of it. They raised the necessary capital for plants. Thoy mado themselves practically the ex clusive buyers of cattlo from tho ranges. It was a simplo business ar rangement, roquiriug foresight, pru dence, brains, pluck, astuteness and persovorenco. They became controllers in interest of tho ownorship of tho stockyards, whither tho cattlo wero taken ponding salo. With their enormous capital they drovo out ono competitor after another, until they controlled tho sit uation. Ono great secret of their power was that which was bo potent with tho Standard Oil trust their ability to got secret rebates from tho railroads, bo that they could put their dressed beef on tho markot at lower rates than their competitors could. Tliay wcrs ian tlwif own butchers, f nd ihxj became t-:.ir vxn. ccmnors. 1? ccrd::. cr ihr cc- yards, thoy were still in tho hands of tho "Big Four" for the producers woro still obliged to sell to tho Ar mours, or to Swift, or Morris, or Hammond-fur whilo "Nolu" Morris pretended to bo a free lance ho never cut in on tho other threo in prices. He well know that ho could mako more by "standing in" with them so far tis prices were concei nod. If cat tlemen sought to soli to other: than to tho "Big Four" thoy found them selves balked, for whoever mado pur chases at higher rates than tho "Big Four" found himself undersold when ho came to dispose of cattlo trans formed into dressed beef. Tho "Big Four" opened their own meat shops all over tho country, and this laud from tho Atlantic to tho Pacific is strewn with tho wrecks of tho umall butchers who havo dared enter as fac tors into competition with tho groat quartette. And still tho nefarious work goes bravely on. To understand clearly how abso lutely tho "big combino" has tho cat tlemen at it mercy, it must bo borne in mind that ranchmen and farmers, must send thoir cattlo to established markets. No matter which ono of tho lour markets before mentioned 1) se lected, tho cattlemen find, practically, only tho same set of buyers, tho "Big Four." These men nro represented in each market, not individually, to bid against ouch other, but collective ly, as a unit, ono man, as a rule, buy ing for tho four. Th6 cattlo purchas ed are divided up among them. An interesting featuro of tho "Big Four is that tho prices to bo paid for the various classy of cattlo on any given day as fixed by tho "combine" beforo hand, sometimes on tho morning of tho day of purchase, but oftener days and even weeks ahead, within narrow limits of a small fraction of n cent por pound It will readily bo seen that tho cat tlemen havo thus been placed abso lutely in tho hands of tho "Big Four" This fact is well known. It is with tho consequence, as ono of tho great fac tors in tho boof supply problem, that this articlo has to do. It is cloar that with tho ability thus acquired to mako their own prices, it was purely ft question of policy with tho quartotto what prices thoy should pay. Thoy woro too shrewd to kill at onco tho gooso that laid for thorn tho golden egg that is tho ranchmen; bat thoy adopted tho slow but no less suro process of strangulation. Tho profits, ef course, lay between tho buying prico of cattlo and tho selling prico of droiisod boof. Tho "Big Four" woro determined on ono thing and that was to absorb 03 much as tho abovo indicated policy would permit of tho profits of tho cattlemen; and so controlling tho market, they began to piy less and less, until within some t jut years they havo forced tho prico cf coitlo itovm ftjoro thien 30 ye cent Ab tho prico of beef to tho conyuta er,has meanwhile remained nearly the samo as beforo tho monopoly took control of tho market, it will bo r;eoa that an cnormoiw profit has bo'n m cured by tho "Big Four." For tl first threo years tho profits largely went into tho plant and into tho do velopment of it. Tho profits on oa?h head of cattlo aro from If 12 to $15, ac cording to tho careful computation cf experts, and as each ono of tho "Big Four" handles nearly half a million of cattle a year tho annual profits of tho quartette avcrago about --5,000000 Although tho salon of cattlo havo been unusually largo tho past year, and arn so in tho present season, giv ing tho appearance of an abundant supply of beef this very fact, on a naljsui, proves to bo tbfl most dan gerous manifestation ponsible cf tho approaching climax. This plethora of offering does not indicate any plethora of legitimate supply. Thi j apparent rdmndanco of cattlo h duo to tho fact that tho ranges aro throw 1 iug their capital as woll as thoir in terest upon tho markot In other word',, they aro selling tho bulk of thoir hqds in addition to their iur.,ar ' al 'output tha feinalo cnUla and calves which, respectively, havo hith erto been kept for breeding purpose, , and to dovelop into steers. In short, tho cattloraen aro closing out their business under tho relentless thurob scrow of tho "Big Four." It is ft significant fact that tho num ber of cattlo slaughtered annually in tho Uuitwd States during tho pant threo years, pliu tho annual mortal ity, has oxc coded tho annual femalo - cattlo product for tho samo period, excluesivo of calves consumed as vcol. and though tho ratio of such oicosu cannot bo precisely obtained, yet a- vailablo statistics leave no doubt as to ' tuo correctness ol tho conclusion. Whilo tho number of cattlo in tho United States has thua boon diminish ing, or. at bst, has remained practic ally stationary, tho population ha in creased rapidly, and tho ratio of cat tlo to population haa undergono ft sig nificant change. In 1810, by tho best data obtained tho per capita of cattlo excoded that of population by about GO per cent At tho beginning of tho war, 18C0, tho numbors woro substantially equal, whilo to-day tho number of cattle is about two-thirds tho number of in habitants, or only 0G per v cent, of a t boof animal to each head of population. It cannot bo controverted that with ' our ratio of incrcoso of population ' and with tho decreasing acreage de voted to cattlo-raising, this discrvpan cy must bocomo annually wider, u:iO our own people shall not only caw sumo all the beef that tho country c::$ produce, but bo compelt-jd to iTJzth beof from Canada r.nctScirt?i,Ar?:.-r":,.;i'