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The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, July 27, 1905, Image 5

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C&j Nobrasktx Independent
ITULY 27, 1905
few hundred editorials relating to Senator
Depew which have been printed since July 11,
3.905, would make an interesting appendix
to the volume, whose frontispiece, by the way,
carries the smiling features of the Sage of
j Peekskill and the significant inscription,
Yours truly." New York World.
Whither are we drifting? 7ith the mem
bers of the IJnited States senate convicted
of crime and a third one (Depew) under a
cloud; with corruption running rampant in
'.many of the state legislatures, and various
governors severely censured for their actions ;
with pollution in many cities more glaring
than prevailed in New York during the days
of Boss Tweed with all this corruption,
whither are we drifting and what is to be
come of our country if it continues in years
to come to grow as it has grown in years
past? Seward, Neb., Independent-Democrat.
Mr. Depew' s fitness to remain in the sen
ate is, of course, as much open to question
as his fitness to remain a member of the Yale
corporation. It is to be noted in this connec
tion that he has just been re-elected for a
full term of six years. How that re-election
came about will be remembered. Odell had
taken up ex-Governor Black for the succes
sion, but for some reason not explained,
Odell suddenly threw Black over and allowed
Depew to take another term. It was supposed
" that the intervention of E. H. Harriman's
influence over Odell is one of the interesting
and unanswered questions of New York poli
tics and finance.
In the east editorial writers seem to be giving
the serious issues of the day about as much
thought as they devoted to the silver question
in 1896. The bad breaks made in the first Bryan
campaign by these moulders of public opinion
,were delightfully rabsurd. At -present they are
trying their luck on railway regulation and they
are showing about as much sanity as a dog chas
ing a bird. For example, Collier's editor says : .
The movement for fixing rates actually
through a commission, as contrasted with reg
ulating them, Las lost ground of late. The
president, respondi j to the public, has
slackened speed in the onslaught he was
making. We have never cared much to see
. the rate-fixing power in absolute form in a
small group of government appointees. A
sign of the trend was given when the organ
of the locomotive engineers came out against
the scheme. A-railway is a thing peculiarly
requiring regulation. It ought to be a mo
nopoly, to avoid wasteful duplication, and yet
unless there is competition the roads will
. treat the people like so much dirt. Compare
the rival services between Chicago and New
York with the performances of a fat monopoly
like the Boston & Maine, "Which owns legisla
tures and with impunitymaltreats the public
in every known way. But it is perfectly
simple to have monopoly and good service,
by government and state supervision. Every
thing about a railway ought t: be subject to
the state, from urates to comfort, from equal
privileges to safety, but the correct demo
cratic principle is to let the roads know what
is expectel of them, and see th .t they per
form it not for the state to step in itself
and undertake the conduct of the railway
. Collier's esti aable editor has a genial dis
position, but his economic vision is afflicted with
strabismus. His r .edy for railway tyranny is
simple and as impossible as it is simple. The
roads know now what is expected of them and the
interstate commerce commission lias the power
to enlighten them from time to time as to the
reasonableness of certain rates. But the commis
sion has no power to enforce its iindings. How,
then.can the government "see" that the railroads
charge reasonable rates? It is eaiy to ask the
government to "see that they perform it," but
there is a glittering generally about this remedy
which shows how cheerfully illogical some of
the eastern editors can be when dealing with
economic subjects. And yet Collier's editor con
cedes that everything about a railway, from rates
to comfort, sho ild be subject to the state. How
would the editor make these things subject to
the state? He would have the government "see
to it." There must be a power in the govern
ment's "see" which hitherto none of us has sus
pected. Instead of having a commission with
power to fix a reasonable rate we should just
ask the government "to see to it" and that would
so frighten the railways that they yould at once
consent to be reasonable. The government has
been trying the "see-to-it" plan for a long time
and the railways still charge extortionate rates
and grant rebates to big shippers. Collier's edi
tor has. another guess.
Th-3 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde attitude of the
railways, which pose as common carriers for
some purposes and as private corporations for
other purposes, is denounced by the Chicago
Record-Herald: -
' A decision just rendered by the interstate
commerce commission, in a case involving
the reasonableness of certain charges for
transportation and refrigeration of fruit from
Michigan points lays down a doctrine which
whether sound or unsound in law, is cer-
tainly in harmony with the trend of public
sentiment. The commission holds that rail-
. roads which hold themselves out as common
carriers of perishable fruit must provide the
necessary refrigerator cars for. that traffic;
that carriers of commodities that can only
move under refrigeration are bound to fur
nish such refrigeration, and the icing be
comes not a mere Incident but part of the
service itself; that the refrigerator cars, no
matter how obtained, are during the trans
portation to be treated as the cars of the '
carrier using it, and that the charge for re
frigeration stands exactly like any other
'charge for transportation and is governed by
the same statutory provisions as to reason
ableness, publicity, etc. That is, refrigera
tion charges must be published, observed and
changed precisely as other charges are, the
commission having full jurisdiction over
, them. In the same decision the commission
finds that a certain charge for refrigeration
based upon the cost cl the ice used, would be
reasonable. It does not, however, order that
charge to go into effect, for the reason that
it is without authority to prescribe rates for
the future. In other words, we have again
a decision without an order, an argument
without a ruling. The defendant roads may
or may not adopt the rate declared to be
reasonable by the commission, just as they
may or may not admire the logic of the com
mission in reaching the conclusion that a
common carrier does not cease to be a com
mon carrier when he moves perishable fruit
in refrigerator cars.
This decision points the wa7 for a commis
sion which shall be vested with the power to en
force its rulings. When congress grants a com
mission such power the refrigerator car dis
criminations, which have constituted one of-the
most flagrant abuses of railway mismanagement,
will disappear. The press continues to criticise -the
railway policy of placing a greater value on
earnings than on human life: -
By good fortune the Pennsylvania rail
road's Chicago flyer escaped serious conse
quences in its collision with a loose freight
car near Port Royal Saturday. Luck does
not destroy the lesson of the averted disaster.
This accident was the third of recent record
caused by the buckling of a freight train. In
the second of the three, which like the third
was on the Pennsylvania road, twenty-two
passengers were killed. Now, a freight train
buckles in a sudden stop -because only the
cars equipped with air-brakes stop immediate
ly. Intervening cars which have no air
brakes collide with the cars ahead and
buckle.. The argument would seem to be
complete, without further casualties, for com
pelling railroad companies to put the 'air
brake on all freight cars, as they do on all
passenger cars. New York World.
1 m in mum am
The tariff issue has been revived not more by
the go' iment's action with reference to canal
supplies than by the agitation of those who favor
tariff revision and of those who advocate reciproc
ity. The Record-Herald has this to say re
garding the reciprocity conference to be held in
The New York Merchants' association,
without reference to the conference planned
by western friends of reciprocity, has adopted
plans for an extensive campaign of reciproc
ity education. Its resolutions were com
mented upon in these columns at the time
they were adopted, but since then thousands
. of copies of a very informing and impressive
circular have been sent out In which the
tariff developments In Europe are reviewed
and their lessons emphar ized. In viejv of the
action of Germany, France and Russia, and
the proposed tariff changes in Austria, Switz
erland and other countries, indifference and
standpattism on our part woull be culpable.
Europe takes more - than twe thirds of our
exports, and all of our principal articles of
export will be seriously affected by the new
laws in question. And the association re
minds us that In these days of intense rivalry
our foreign trade, "when once lost or taken,
cannot be recovered, except with great diffi
culty." The Merchants' association does not
mention te double tariff plan. It explicitly
advocates "a policy of reciprocal trade agree
ments in acordance with the last words of
President McKinley," It cannot be sup
posed, however, that it is committed to the
special treaty plan, and no doubt a liberal,
fair double tariff system, one that would in
vite reciprocity rather than retaliation, would
receive the association's endorsement should
it, upon discussion, present superior advan
tages. New England, we know, is keenly
interested in reciprocity, and the Boston
board of trade has recently adopted strong
resolutions urging that policy. We 'shall
doubtless hear from that influential section
apropos of the conference proDOsal.
There has been a great advance recently
in public opinion. For instance among the
people, the demand for a radical revision of
the tariff schedules is almost universal. But
the old time conservative bosses and captains
of industry oppose it and progress seems
almost impossible. Elected by an accident,
President Roosevelt, a man of progressive
ideas, is bound hand and foot, and while he
has done much by way of agitation, he has
not succeeded in bringing about any sub
stantial reforms. But as days go by, the
task will come easier. Time is no respector.
of persons. The boss cannot command the
sun to stand still. Columbus Press-Post.
Russian and Japanese affairs still afford ma
terial for much comment. Peace possibilities,
the defiant action of the zemstvos and the mili
tary situation are discussed:
That indorsement undoubtedly represents
the fixed view of Czar Nicholas. But so many
things have happened since then that on
March 30, 1905, the czar's official organ,
"Slovo," announced that the presidents of the
provincial zeinostvo boards sho: Id be sum-
moned to give their opinion on what might
be best, to save Russia from disaster. Of
course, the grand dukes, the police and the
reactionarjes of all ranks negatived this per
mission, as far as they could. But the
zemstvo presidents have met, relying on the
autocrat's promise of immunity. As stated
in the Post-Dispatch, the prefect of police of
Moscow was present, with a sufficient fotfee
to put a stop to the deliberations. But he
does not seem to have dared to do so. He
contended himself with taking the names of
all present and making a report of the pro
ceedings for his masters. But who are the
masters? The government is evidently di
vided against Itself. In all its branches are
men who are tired of bureaucracy and who
are determined, if possible, to put a stop to
its corruption and tyranny. Ihe outcome of
this great representative meeting will be of
vital importance to Russia. It may mark the
beginning of the end of autocratic govern
ment. St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The state of affairs In Ilanchuria is such
as to create the impression that LInevitch
and Oyama have an understand!, g that there
is to be no serious fighting while the peace
negotiations are on. Reports come occasion'
ally from St. Petersburg of the growing
strength of the Russian army and its desire
to take tin offensive, but it makes no forward
move. General Oyama sends in no reports
of progress, and presumably he is simply
marking time and refraining from sacrificing
the lives of many of his men. It may be
that without any formal' agreement there is
a practical armistice so far as the Manchur
ian armies are concerned. It would not be
surprising, however, to hear at any moment
of the Japanese activity in the neighborhood
of Vladivostok. Chicago Tribune,

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