OCR Interpretation

The river press. [volume] (Fort Benton, Mont.) 1880-current, April 20, 1881, Image 1

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053157/1881-04-20/ed-1/seq-1/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

Vol. I. Fort Benton, MIontana, WVednesday, April 0O 1881. No, 26,
II. C. tILLAMS,- - - - - - - - ED1TO,
'THE International banitary Conference i0 1
session at Washington, ended its labors by -
THE anti-monopoly league now has an or
ganization in 20 of the 24 assembly districts,
of New York. The Brooklyn league has:ij
been making progress in organizing King's
"DizzY" has been having a hard time of it,
between gout, a prospect of rivalship om
Salisbury in the Troy leadership, an'
rampant liberals. The gout complaint is e
ting [ietter.
COL. FRED. GRANT got tired of serving his
country as an army officer and has resi
to assume a position as civil engineer on the
Chicago, Texas and Mexican railway, in
which his father and father-in-law are h
TELEG1RAPHrI advices state that, the fight
between Conkling and Garfield has unsettled
the latter person, while other reports state
he deliberately created the issue to ascertain
if the Senate could usurp the sole executive
functions of the government. The latter
statement is probably correct.
TIE, Democrats, in their treatment of Ma
hone, state that they will cover hip with an
unusual amount of dye stuff., which will be
thrown by their most experienced mud-sling
ers. Unless they display more skill than they
have heretofore, the result will be a reaction
equal to that indulged in by the Wife of
T.E people of Benton have now a signal
opportunity for a display of that hospitality
and courtesy which should be shown for
the many strangers and visitors who will
sojourn with us during court season ; and we
hope they will take away with them an idea
of the River City that is worthy of her pros
pects, and a credit to her people.
TrHE Senators all feel good over the p
ent prospect of an indefinite session,
both parties are promising each other thB
they neither Win yeup ? ai
Conklinig is reportedt ae haviig recently de
scribed the situation thus: "The President
has placed me in a situation where I must
commit suicide or murder, and I have chosen
TIHE East seems phenomenally affected
with storms this spring. Dispatches of the
15th inst. indicate a heavy snow storm in the
New England States, embracing New York
City, which is said to be worse than any of
mid-winter. In Texas a heavy frost was re
ported to have occurred on the night of the
13th, doing considerable damage to corn,
cotton, and vegetables generally. Here in
Montana we are having weather that drives
the lounger into the shade of his vine and
fig tree.
THE Nihilists who were captured and con
victed for complicity in the assassination,
were hanged on the 15th, an immense con
course of spectators witnessing the execution.
The appeals of Russakoff and Michaeloff
were submitted to the Czar, but he replied
that the sentence must be carried out. The
condemned were escorted from the fortress
to the place of execution by Cossacks and in
fantry, with drums beating and fifes playing.
They were very firm except Russakoff, who
fainted at the last moment. Thus ends the
second act.
TIrE newly-pledged officials of Silver Bow
county have been enjoined from acting, on
the ground that owing to irregularity in the
manner of proceeding, and a technicality in
the law, Silver Bow county is not a legal ex
iitence. The citizens of Butte are said to be
using the "strongest words in the English
language" to express their indignation, and
these words are among the adjective exple
live, with all they may imply. The Deer
Ledge people have not lost their cunning and
they show that some things may be done as
well as others.
THE net indebtedness of Custer county was,
on March 10th, 1881, $52,660 14; on March
[Oth, 1880, $25,349.21; an increase of $27,311.- 1
00, or more than 100 per cent. in a little over
a year.
The revenue collected during the last fiscal
year was $15,364.86 while warrants were is
sued in the same time amounting to $28,554.- .
63, and adding accounts allowed at the March
issue, $37,213.00.
Since the county was organized warrants t
have been issued for $71,689.27, of which E
have been paid and cancelled $22,705.36, or
considerably less than oneithird.-Avant I
The above figures convey a lesson which c
this county can study with great advantage, a
New communities have a faculty for creating I
indebtedness without regard to future possi- 4
blities and consequences; and when they are
created, :s in the above case, and, also in a
great measure in this county, without there
having been any judicious application made
of the fds, in the way of substantial public
nprove ts, the case assumes the phase of
reckless. avagance. The greater part of
this enor .is increase has been due to the
r extravagant salaries paid to officials, and it
would 8ee that our county organizations
-were cread for no other purpose than to af
Sford i~es es of personal relief for needy
Sofficial.. n the case of Custer county the
i indbtedn s has reached the incredible sum
of . per ent. on, her assessed valuation,
and although she ~has before her a prospect
of eat enhancement in her valuation, she
lwillave with that valuation so much to do
3 inthe Way of legitimate improvement, that
Ssh do well to 'keep 'pac&, * it, adif
ifot care al will stallify Iierself to that
e that lie. future will be ruined;: Ti=
e and property owners of this aPd our
county can only preserve themselves;
bankruptcy by placing men in offi~
mnot onlyadve ability and honety in
istration, 'but who are also suffit iently
estdi din the county and its future that
Swil.have a personal as well as general
interest in economical administratioi, and
careful in creating debt to see that only en
terprisea Which add to the value of the county
are forwarded, and who will labor to repress
extravagant :alaries.
The iers and stock-men of the United
States.ill have to meet the latest attempt
or rath. success of monopoly with vigor,
for its: afts are leveled at them directly and
solely. The manufacture of barbed wire has
been r ~tricted to one Massachusetts firm by
a piece of judicial legerdemain, which savors
strongly of subtraction, division and silence
in the ru, e which animated the decision
of Judges bdgett. Upon what hair-split
ting tech' ity┬░ the decision was made, the
following show :
"The t ony as to the state of the art
showed th pence-wire, and wire-fences, and
wires com sed of two or more strands laid.
or twiste ether, were old at the time,
Hunt and entered the field, and that
fences, lo re Hunt's invention, had'
been armed ikes or other projecting
points for t se of making them more.
effective barr f pickets, spikes,
or area r..ain..i. ithn. t
b-tt.tie most that could be said of them would
be that they narrowed the field for the exer
cise of inventive faculty and limited the
range of the patents. As to the question of
patentability, a device to be patented must,
of course, be the result of inventive genius,
and not a mere mechanical adaptation of old
things to new uses. It was, however, ex
ceedingly difficult to draw the dividing line
between the two. If barbed wire had ever
been applied to any other use it would not
have required inventive skill to afterwards
apply it to fences; but there was no evidence
that such had been the case. It required in
vention to devise and produce a wire that
could be applied to fences. In the absence
of other test, court had assumed that the
fact of the acceptance of a new device or
combination by the public, and putting it into
extensive use, is evidence that it was the pro
duct of invention. In other words, utility
was suggestive of originality."
The absurdity of a decision affecting un
favorably one third of the population of the
United States, and our greatest interest, and
only benefiting one man, on such filmy
grounds is evident. The American farmer is
compelled to use it, for the high price of
lumber and its perishable nature precludes
it for this purpose, and in these Western tree
less countries the necessity for the barbed
wire is absolute. In 1880, 80,000 miles
of wire fence was built, and will probably by
the close of the present year reach
100,000 mile-. When one manufacturer
imposes a royalty of 15 or 20 per cent.
on all this vast production, and when
the vast possibilities implied in the use of
barbed wire are likely to run up.into half a
million of miles in the next four years, this
barbed wire monopoly will prove itself the
greatest of them all. The royalty is $30 per
mile, and last year amounted to $2,400,0G0.
Two and a half millions per year from an
industry now in its infancy, not as legitimate
profit on the cost of manufacture, but exact
ed as a tribute to "ingenuity," shows plainer
than anything the nature of the monopoly
and the terrible tax exacted from American
It is well to reward inventive genius, and
such should be stimulated by every reasona
ble incentive. But to exact a tribute of three
or four millions a year is not reward to the
inventor, but a biazen-faced robbery of the
consumer, and is a plain travesty on the pat
ent laws, and shows a necessity for concerted
action on the part of our farmers and mer
chants with that just inaugurated by the
merchants and artisans of the East ,against
the encroach~ept, and for the suppression of
all such shamis and schemes.
The farmers of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri,
Illinois and Kansas are organizing for the
purpose of equtesting the validity of the de
cision, and ;trhey hould have the assistance
and support of the entire agricultural com
munity of the country. Stock-men and farm
e'rs of Montana should organize at once; or
ganize in the townships;counties, and in the
Territory, and let the Territorial organiza
tion unite with those of sister States and Ter
ritories. A united eirt will break down
the monopoly and reli ve the farmers of
their greatest and most :irect source of trib
ute robbery.
The RIVER PRESS will furnish such infor
mation relative to the organization through
out thee country to those who wish to organ
ize, as;will place them ini direct communica
tion and harmonious waking with the gen
eral organization. We call upon all to or
ganize for protection against the whole flock
of cormotants whose monopolizing spirit is
gradually absorbing both their liberties
and property.
W.iwee lianded following letter, writ
ten;y a gentleman qfTroy, Ohio:
1 1uQ bqi Rngh ough to mail me a
y ur leading newspaper or some
cation, settin~forth what, if any,
gei are offered by your city and sec
tion of the Territory for immigrants. We
:~ od here by the daily papers that in
,~o latitude and region"of country you have
been ..joying fine spr~ weather, favorable
for gThultur~al interests and stock. Would
be glad to learn the facts."
The advantages offered by this town and
the surrounding country can hardly be set
forth in the limited space of a newspaper ar
ticle, but we will give an outline of the prin
cipal, that will in a measure satisfy the quest
of our enquirer, and.ioters.
The great advantage F Benton is in the fact
that it is the geographioal center of the lar
gest and richest a ultural and mineral
se iin Montana or the entire Rocky
3louhr in country. 4T'his advantage of loca
tion is supplemented by the fact that it is the
head of navigation on the Missouri river,
which makes it the commercial center of the
entire tributary district, and conferring upon
it an advantage of cheap communication with
the East at rates which are not greatly above
those current west of the Mississippi. Busi
ness and enterprise in the town are only just
beginning to develop,' only a few lines of
trade being at present represented by purely
t0tail houses. The wholesale trade has as
isumed splendid pr0portions, and supplies
customers far up to the British posses
sions, eastward to thmouth of the Mussel
shell and southwar d the rivers tributary to
the Yellowstone. nufactures there are
g of brick and
t,tgr g1 es, and, with the
facilities for the getting of raw material and
the development of power to drive machinery,
presents the most inviting field for enterprise
to be found in the West. Money rules at
about 18 per cent. per annum, and the result
in the way of profit in its use will range from
25 to 75 per cent. Taxation is comparatively
light. Two enterprises in the way of manu
facturing are needed badly, one a woolen
mill for the making of the heavier kind of
woolen goods, such as blankets, etc., and a
good merchant flouring mill.- The latter,
especially, presents an inviting field for a
moderate capital, and the agricultural inter
ests of the country are suffering from its
lack. Last year over 30,000 barrels of flour
were imported from Minnesota and St. Louis
at a cost averaging $1.50 per barrel for trans
portation, which alone would leave ample
margin for all contingencies. The openings
for the profitable investment of capital are
too numerous for specification, and could
only be answered after a special application
would define the amount that could be fur
nished, and the lines desired to enter into.
The trades are partially represented-those
which are dependent upon building needs
are represented sufficiently for the present,
as also is the blacksmithing industry. A
small machine shop is imperatively needed,
and anumber of small industries will find
here sufficient employment.
It is in our agricultural and stock resources
that our field is boundless, and which offer
that certainty of profit, and room for rapid
and extensive growth that will justify enter
prise from those who are unacquainted. The
entire country has passed through a winter
phenomenal in its severity, and destructive
to property beyond any precedent. We of
Northern Montana have not wholly escaped,
but when we compare our losses with those
of the Eastern States, we have reason to feel
jubilant at its Smallness. The last half of
December and the entire month of January
was noted for severe cold, the mercury in
one case getting as low as 59 below zero, and
during the continuance of this long season of
cold the greatest fears were entertained that
our stock interests would suffer almost total
annihilation. But in February the weather
moderated, and by the 20th of that month
spring had fairly set in, and up to this date
has been marked with no check whatever.
The anticipated losses have been brought
down as low as 10 per cent. on an average,
though there are isolated cases of much
greater, which were due in the main to
causes of management for which the climate
is not responsible. A few ranges which were
overstocked suffered, and even these more
from peculiar local conditions than the severe
cold. Sheep that had received proper atten
tin dprovision did not suffer at all;
where they had none, as in failure to supply
sheds for shelter and a stock of hay, suffered
severely; but the entire loss will not average
10 per cent. Horses passed through without
being perceptibly affected.
Taken altogether, in connection with the
severity of the winter, the loss to stock is so
small as to be a matter of congratulation, for
it has demonstrated the safety of the coutitry
for stock operations, on the principle that
whatever survived the past season codld stand
the test of any, as it is safe to presume that it
was the worst possible, and it is certain that
it was the worst known to the oldest inhabi
In agriculture there is no practicable limit
to the capacity of the country for cereal pro
duction. The broad plateau which extends
from the Rockies to Lake Superior is capable
of being turned into one vast wheat field, the
deep alkaline soils being practically inex
haustible. They are as yet, west of the Mis
souri undeveloped from want of population
and markets. But enough has been done to
demonstrate its limitless capacity for agri
culture, and the land only awaits the plow to
be ranked as the granary of the nation. Vege
tables of all sorts and small fruits grow
luxuriantly. Apples will also thrive, but re
quire a different treatment than in the heavily
wooded countries. The peach does not thrive,
but the plum and cherry are indigenous in
several varieties which could be easily im
At present the wealth of the country lies
in its luxurious and nutritious grass, in wh'ch
no section of the world furnishes better nor
more abundantly.
Taken as a whole we can invite investiga
tion into our resources with a confidence
justified by the result of the past winter, and.
invite all who find their way too crowded to
come here and share with us in our natural
wealth, and assist us to develop this magnifi
cent country up to the splendid future which
is in store for it.
IT may be fortunate for the peace of this
country that its people are so prosperous
that even the most earnest efforts on the part
of the American House of Lords to introduce
anarchy will not unsettle it. But this golden
era will sometime have an end. The specta
cle presented with every administration of a
band of predatory senators placing them
selves against the people by stopping the
governmental machinery, and prostituting
its legitimate funcltiona by an unseemly and
corrupt scramble for the control of patron
age, is fast placing the government in con
tempt among the people, and causing a loss
of confidence in republican institutions.
The United States is an oligarchy of the
most pronounced type, and the influence of
the people upon it is reduced to a mere mat
ter of public opinion, which has just as
much effect in Russia and Germany as here.
This oligarchy has grown gradually out of
the influence of the States in the Senate, and
has been carefully nurtured by the leaders in
the States for the perpetuation of their pow
er, until the power of the general govern
ment has been reduced to a mere expression.
The present dead-lock is apparently a fight
between the two great parties for the control
of a few petty offices in the Senate, but only
apparently, for under the surface is the upas
of States Rights, which has for forty years
been the great disturbing cause in American
politics, and which has already resulted in
the bloodiest war of the age, and which will
result in another if the senatorial power is
not broken by the government peaceably.
The spectacle of the Conkling dictating to
the government its functions and its policy
is humiliating, and when he is seen in league
with other state didtators in both parties, in
an attempt to force the government into sub
mission, it becomes disheartening. Popular
influence cannot affect it because popular in
fluence cannot make itself felt.
Let us see how this thing is managed. The
senator has a numerous following which
swears unfaltering allegiance to him, in ev
ery county, township and hamlet in the State.
The opposition has another of the same de.-
cription ; all are held together by a hunger
for office. Little country newspapers are
planted by these leaders and kept alive by
their subsidies. The leaders are in combin
ation wifh railroad companies, mining com
panies, and all the large corporations, who
furnish certain of the sinews which are re
quired to maintain this feudal organization.
Miembers of the Legislature are carefully se
lected who will favor the views and blindly
follow the leader's behests, and bind them
selves to serve the interests of "property,"
which usually means railroad stock, bonds
and other matters of like nature which the
people have generously donated. When they
are selected, a caucusis called, and members
elected to convention who will vote as they
-re bid; the voters in caucus are usually giv
en their choice of two; it will make no dif
ference which is elected, both being in the
service of their feudal lord, the senator. With
the people generally accorded a choice be
tween two packed members, they are left to
aominate one of them. If by some mis
hbance some one is nominated in opposition,
and goes to convention in favor of an inde
pendent candidate, if the senator has not a
hopeless majority which willadmit of his ig
noring the independent, he will be interview
ed and various positions offered himself and
his friends, and a goodly installment of cash
besides, before which the independent can
didate, finding that he is likely to be beat
anyway, will accept, usually because, after
thinking it over, the best interests of the
State can be served by keeping intact the
party organization, and he would rather see
a Republican get it than a Democrat, or vice
versa. So the Legislature is chosen from the
element which is favorable: to the senator,
and the senator is duly elected. Should the
Legislature be evenly balanced it becomes a
personal fight between the Republican and
Democratic senatorial aspirants, and both are
striving for exactly the same thing by exact.
ly the same means, and the fight depends up
on which can buy the most votes.
By such means the senatorial hold on a
State is perpetuated, and if the senator is
tired of serving himself, he gets a favorite
creature nominated in his place. In order to
keep this power he must have the dispensa
tion of all the patronage he can possibly get,
and interferance by the government must be
fought, even if the government is paralyzed.
We all know how hopeless the government
was to restrain the Southern senators, and
how their arrogance finally resulted in the
civil war. Then for a time, we had a gov
ernment, but in the place of a Southern Dem
ocratic cabal, we have now a Northern Re
publican cabal, which is a distinction with
out a difference. This cabal has created all
the disturbance in our government since the
war; it has fanned the dying embers of civil
strife in the South, and kept alive the sec
tionalism and weakness which is a necessi
ty of their power. It defied Grant and finally
won him over; it defied Hayes, and, not
winning him, ignored him; it is defying
Garfield and the whole country, and may
succeed in winning him or in ignoring him,
for in the matter of senatorial privilege, sup
port may be looked for from both parties.
But there are many signs that the people
are awakening to this danger. In fact for
ten years they have been making earnest pro
test in the way for reform and a new order
of things, but the cry has been stifled by
hopeless division-division which is vitalized
by all the senatorial and office-holding influ
ence, and it will be divided and and stifled
until we get a President who will dare to
defy the party whip and the party organiza
Every nation in Europe has passed through
this very phase of government, and all but
Spain have outgrown it, and Spain is rapidly
releasing herself of it. In Rome during the
social wars, it was the people against the
Senate. When it took form, Marius led the
people and Sylla the Senate, and for many
years it seemed that there was no help from
oligarchial rapacity, but an obscure protege
of Pompey's, Julius Ctesar, took up the
cause where Marius had left it, and finally
destroyed the oligarchy, but not without be
coming a sacrifice to its venom. When
Germany was a prey to its feudal barons, and
in the state of anarchy which created a feud
al despotism, an obscure Count of Hapsburg
arose and planted himself on the popular
wrongs, and with the popular support destroy
ed the feudal system of Southern Germany
and founded the first great empire of the
modern world. France was torn by inter
nal wars and popular servitude, until the petty
King of Navarre espoused the popular
cause and paved the way for the destruction
of an arrogant nobility which Richelieu and
Louis XIV finally subordinated and the rev
olution totally overthrew. Northern Ger
many was the prey of adventurers of church
and state until the petty Elector of Branden
burg by an accident was raised to a petty
kingship, and, having sagacity, espoused the
popular cause and begun that system of pop
ular education and development which has
resulted in the great German empire, and be
gun that systematic suppression of the feudal
barons, whom Bismarck has totally over
throwp. A petty Count of Holstein is now
Czar of Russia because he has destroyed a
tyrannic nobility and worked for popular el
evation. In the wars between the crown and
the feudal nobles in England, the crown was
triumphant only by making alliance with the
people, and creating a House of Commons,
and has always granted extended powers to
the people when its existence was threatened
by cabalistic intrigue, (a phase not yet com
plete, and which may take an altogether dif
ferent and democratic form before it is com
pleted). In Italy it has been the same story
of cabal and weakness, of aristocratic arro
rance and popular servitude, until the petty
K(ing of Sardinia, by alliance with the dem
ocrats, has crushed the aristocratic power
and united Italy. It is the same in Spain-on
ly a few years since Don Carlos at the head
of the old aristocracy was trying to suppress
levelopment and regain power wlth the aid
-of a church which had impoverished the peo
ple. But the people have the victory thus
ar and every prospect of greater in the fu
Of them all, we in America seem most
hopelessly in the power of anti-democratic
Ifluence, and although we are not oppressed
,y a hereditary atistocracy, there is planted
ind growing thriftily an oligarchy, more
langerous, more irresponsible, more unscru
3ulous, and robbing us all with a vigor which
Feudal baron or autocratic king never dared
3or dreamed of, and which will require-a Ju
ius Ctesar or a French revolution to over
h.row. Which! I

xml | txt