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Devoted to the Interests of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union and Other Kindred Organizations.
VOL.IL NO. 40. TOPEKA, KANSAS, WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 1891. $1.00 PER YEAR. A FARMER'S ALLIANCE LEADER. Almost a Governor-Qulte an Honest, Un buyable Man-New and Striking Statistics Wants the Sub-Treasury Bill-Means Busi ness from the Start. The following interview occurred at Colum bus, 0., and appears in the Rural New Yorker of May 23. Editor. All Kansas rang last year with the name of a farmers' candidate for gover nor. Professional politicians and "Irri descent dreamers" had hitherto been made the guardians of the publio Inter est by the farmers, while they followed the plow. When, at the end of the year, these men, who had left kindred and friends to find a home in the wide west, sat down on their plow beams and bal anced their accounts, they found them selves poorer after the year's labor was done than they were at the beginning. Forbearance seemed to have ceased to be a virtue, and it was time to awaken the dreamers. J. F. Willits, a pioneer and a hard working farmer, was chosen as the can didate for governor on the People's ticket in spite of his protests of financial ina bility to make the canvass. One hun dred and seven thousand voters helped him make it, however, and for several days succeeding the election it was be lieved by them that they had won, but the final count decided otherwise. These facts, so well known to Rural readers, are recalled, as they serve to introduce to every reader the national lecturer of an organization of nearly three millions of people the Farmers' Alliance and In dustrial Union. Your correspondent met him at Colum bus, 0., where a state Alliance was or ganized, and, in common with the other delegates, was impressed with the native ability, force of character and honesty of purpose of the Incumbent of this Import ant office in the Alliance. "There goes a man that a million dollars cannot buy," said one delegate to another as the sturdy Eansan passed by. So much is being said of danger to the Alliance from dis honest men, who may get Into the lead, that there was a general expression of content that two men the president and lecturer carried with them that air of honesty that rogues fail to counterfeit Mr. Willits was seen again the other day and told that the Rural New Yorker would like to present, in an authoritative way, to its readers, his views upon the Alliance work, its demands and its fu ture prospects. "You are welcome to anything that I can say that will help the growth of the Alliance," was Mr. Willits' kind reply. Mr. Willits, Governor Tillman says that he does not believe if the Fartasci' Alliance were polled in his state, one half would support the sub-treasury scheme. He further says: 'I believe the Alliance of the entire south would re pudiate it. Some leaders may favor it, but the rank and file the thinking, read ing members utterly refuse the absurd provisions of the scheme.' " "The Governor is mistaken ," said Lec turer Willits. "I meet with our people from every section of this country. Put me on record as saying that the mass, the great mass of oar people, stand squarely on the Ocala platform and are demand ing the adoption of the scheme. The reasons are many: (1) That it provides for the distribution of the crops as needed; it gives the producers opportunities to hold back a sufficient quantity of their products partially to prevent the usual glut that is so disastrous to prices for a time succeeding harvest. (2) It gives us a flexible currency; it will make money plenty at a time when money is in de mand, and it provides for its gradual withdrawal when a less volume is needed. (8) It takes the agricultural products out of the hands of the gamblers; it is the perfect cure' for dealing in futures. "Some sections do not feel the need of this plan as keenly as others, but our people believe that it will benefit them as a whole, and that any benefit to the farmers of this country will be equally shared by the entire people. None would suffer but the class that would keep our currency unduly restricted for selfish and unpatriotic ends." "How about its alleged impractica bility?" "There is nothing in that claim," an swered the lecturer. "There are minutiae, of course, for the consideration of our legislators. Provisions requiring such insurance of the grain, cotton, eta, stored, as Is now kept up on the grain in the ele vators, limiting the amount loaned and the time, and providing for a business like regulation of affairs, will be needed. The plan Is feasible, and the Alliance is practically a unit in its demand for It. However, some people have one mis taken Idea. They think and talk as if this sub-treasury plan was our chief, nearly our sole demand. Our first and our great demand is for an increase of circulating medium. Unless the farmers of this country, and especially the farm ers west of the Mississippi, get a proper and honest increase and that means a large Increase at an early date, they will be a ruined class." "Do statistics Indicate Impending ruin?" "There Is no question about this. As lecturer of the greatest organization on the face of the earth, I address my peo ple, and I watch most carefully that I make no statement upon any authority that is not the best obtainable. I have recently spent a week or more at Wash ington looking up the figures in the cen sus department Some that I have here have not yet been published, as they were not properly tabulated for the pub lic, but I have been allowed to copy them, and have spent much time in veri fying them, that no mistake might ap pear. The census report will show the following facts: "We have 5,000,000 farms. The average amount produced Is only $100. The aver age mortgaged Indebtedness Is $ 500. The average rate of interest is estimated at 8 per cent,making an interest charge of $40. The auerage farmer pays $25 - tax. De ducting Interest and taxes, the farmer must maintain a family of five persons on $335 a year or increase his indebted ness. How can families be fed, clothed, doctored and educated on an amount equal to 18 cents a day for each member? In my state of Kansas, 40 cents a day is allowed for the maintenance of our con victs. "In 18GG the value of our ten leading crops was $2,007,462,000. In 1884 these ten crops were valued at $2,013,500,000, an Increase of only 2 per cent, while the cultivated area had about doubled. These ten crops had an average value per acre In 1807 of $19, and in 1887 of only $9. "From 18G0 to 1870, the average price of wheat in the United States was $1.99. From 1880 to 1887, It was $1.07. In the same periods the average price of cotton declined from 40 cents to nine cents. "Using our best estimates, it has of late years been costing the wheat farmer two and an eighth, the corn farmer two and a half and the cotton farmer four times as much of their several products to get a dollar as It once did. How can. they repay double or four times the amount they may have borrowed, and at the same time be paying a yearly rate of 10 or 12 per cent., as some western farmers have been compelled at times to pay by reason of such virtual contraction of the volume of our currency as Wall street in its wisdom may have seen fit to bring about? "Our last census shows that the farm mortgaged Indebtedness of pwa is $190 000,000, and of Michigan $130,000,000. To pay the interest on the mortgaged in debtedness In the wheat growing state of Michigan requires 450,554 bushels more wheat than the state produces. "Iowa has $199,000,000 mortgaged in debtednessa sum equal to $104 for every man, woman and child la ths itrta, "In 1886, our national public debt was $2,783,000,000. From that time to date we have paid $4,198,931,361, but it would now take more of the products of labor to pay the amount yet due than it would have taken at first to pay the entire amount With all the reduction of tre principal, it would take more wheat, con;, cotton, cattle and hogs to pay what we still owe than would have been re quired when the debt was greatest in number of dollars. "In the last year the farmers In Kan sas have lost their homes at the rate of SCO per week, and all the desirable public lands is now In the hands of railroads or of aliens. "In 1850 the farmers owned 70 per cent of the wealth of this country? la I860 they owned 33 per cent; in 1890 they own less than 25 per cent. "I could continue to give you statistics showing the deplorable condition of our occupation, but figures make plain only that which is 'already too plain and real to the great majority. In a few sections of our country there are communities that, for local reasons, have not felt the effects of our unjust conditions in this country as have most of our farmers, but our census reports will demonstrate the fact that the average farmer Is doomed, unless he secures a return of the govern ment to the people, to be rightful rulers.. "Our farmers want to pay their honest debts. Repudiation is never considered for a moment; but they do demand that the currency be an honest one for them as well as for all others. A dollar that becomes harder to get each year is a dis honest one. Wall street has a mortgage upon the country, and so manipulates legislation that the value of its loans Is increased continually. These conditions must b ohanged.? "Iloyj about transportation?" 'The Alliancn demands governmental control of public means of transportation. If we cannot control, we propose that the people vsLall own. their carrying lines. This filing Is stronger In New York state, wliere we recently held a state meeting; than In Kansas. Thus do states vary la the degree of Importance they would attach to each of our demands. One state may be more interested In the transportation problem, another in the currency question and another in the sub treasury scheme; but all slates are inter ested In all our demands In' so far that they take their stand on the Ocala plat form, and propose to secure the gran tic jf of all our demands. "The Alliance is growing faster than it has ever done before, and In the comics struggle between the onganlzed monled Interests on the one hand, and, on the other, the farmers, conservative, and yet fully determined to secure equal and exact Justice to every producer in thh country, there can be no question about thiiwulVV.'. ;-A.A,